A strong orientation to action is one of the top ten characteristics of great leaders.
Action orientation is not as common a characteristic as you might think.
“Making an idea work is more difficult and more important than having the idea in the first place,” notes author and consultant Edward de Bono.
At many companies, there’s great eagerness and competition for being involved in new and intellectually engaging assignments. These may include deciding and designing how something will be done, such new products and services, or an entirely new division of a company.
When it comes time, though, for some of the every day, nitty-gritty aspects of turning the great potential of those possibilities into consistently bankable results…and ensuring that they continue to perform…enthusiasm may be harder to round up.
And yet, if you’re an action-oriented leader or a member of a team whose focused efforts yielded great results, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of that collective achievement.
That’s when the responsibility of leadership and the accountability for action is clearly worth the risk that the leadership role – and its need for sustained commitment to positive action – brings.
What works to move good ideas, great intentions and high potential into focused action that eventually produces tangible results?
“The most important and visible outcropping of the action bias in excellent companies is their willingness to try things out, to experiment,” note authors Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.
Here’s the bottom line on those with an action orientation: they focus not on the ways things might go wrong, or the risks of the pursuit, or the blame they’ll lay if things go wrong.
They focus on the possibilities, the multiple ways they can get the job done. And then…sooner or later…they do.
They make their way persistently and creatively over, around or through any barrier they find.
That may involve creatively moving forward in ways they did not expect. It may involve changing the timing of their efforts. Or it may mean going back to square one, getting more information, and adjusting, adapting, refining the goal, and they way they hope to achieve it.
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