Moving from Inaction to Action
I think most of us know that what JFK says is true but we still get caught in the status quo
Knowing it’s true doesn’t help us actually cross that divide from inaction to action. Let’s face it: reading a book of inspirational quotes is not going to turn us into the greatest achiever of all time. So stating the obvious is insightful but not always very helpful.
The reason is simple human psychology. Doing nothing now is easy and there is an immediate short-term benefit. Doing something now requires an investment that only pays rewards later. Doing something now is an effort that we’d like to avoid. So when we don’t want to do something, instead of making a balanced decision, we list everything that could go wrong. We then use these risks as a justification avoid doing what we don’t want to do.
So how do we convert an inspiring quote into action in life?
- Try it – often our fear is based on ignorance
- Start it – starting is the hardest part (I use the 10-minute timer technique)
- Commit to it - use external commitment to bolster your internal commitment
- Make it easier to do now by removing obstacles and getting better at it
To put this into a people management perspective:
I think we all know that we should:
- Give frequent, regular performance feedback to our employees but we don’t have a low friction technique
- Develop the skills of our employees so they get better but we think it’s too time consuming
- Allocate more work to our employees so we don’t have to do everything ourselves but we have had bad prior experiences of doing this
- Build good relationships with our staff, but who's got time for that...
Perhaps it’s more powerful to say: Doing something is always risky. But we can’t avoid risk by doing nothing. Of course if you are doing all of the above and you are not getting good results then it’s time to think about how to get better at these actions.
Tip: Regular one-on-one meetings with your direct reports are an effective and time-efficient way to build better relationships, give inspiring performance communication, delegate tasks and address employee growth and development. To find out how to do all of this in just 30 minutes a week, per direct, download your free one-on-one form here.
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