So in my earlier post, I spoke about having authority. Authority given to you by someone or some entity like Congress or a city council, a boss, a CEO and such. That is simply the first leg to the three-legged stool. Action is how we get it done.
The second leg belongs to Action. Action is the piece that so many fail at for many reasons. Fear being one of the biggest tendencies. It’s often fear that seems to be the one thing that hinders people from making decisions, necessary to their job or complete their project. Fear is nothing more than the unknown. When we don’t know what an answer is or an outcome may be, we are afraid of the consequences. It’s a natural phenomenon that our body and mind uses to protect ourselves from harm or extinction. Only today, it’s not fear of being eaten by a wild animal but fear is in every decision we make or try to make.
The fear of taking action may not seem like such a problem to many but what if you’re a police officer and you are afraid to make an arrest or use force necessary to protect yourself? That fear causes delays and delays in taking action can cost you your life. What about the ship’s Captain that fails to take action to turn his ship away from a navigation hazard like a submerged rock or shallow water? A doctor who is afraid to use his scalpel to perform life-saving surgery? You could go on all day with examples of how failing to take some form of action can potentially be life-threatening.
But what about the day to day events we go through in life? Do we have to be action oriented in our daily lives? I say yes, we most definitely do. Our decisions to act may not always save a life, but without decisions we would stall like a fighter jet that has run out of fuel in the middle of the dog-fight.
Taking action of some kind is something we do every day in our lives, well at least most of us do. Many have troubles making even the most mundane, simple, normal life decisions. Those people are often labeled in some way or another as disable or mentally incapacitated. So taking action is not only a simple life skill most of us are able to accomplish, but do so regularly and without hesitation.
Why is Action So Difficult?
So why is action in other parts of our life so difficult at times and often done only after careful consideration of the consequences? When you have the authority to be someplace or be in a position of authority of some manner, then you really have the duty or the necessity to take action when action is required.
As a parent, every day you take some type of action with your children by either giving them direction, correcting behavior or helping them learn to make their own decisions. Normally we do this without hesitation or much thought.
Then why as a first-line supervisor or even the CEO of a company do we see so many failures to act? I believe, as a society and across most lines of supervision we simply do not prepare the line employee that promotes up to a position of supervision to take action when it is most needed. They were great employees that took direction and had great instincts and did a good job at the line level, however in most cases they do not become excellent supervisors and action oriented leaders without some training, experience, and mentorship by those that do it well.
Action in the time of need is a very necessary leg of the stool that without it, will certainly make the team, the organization, the factory….fail in time.
So we now have the authority to be and do, we now have the knowledge that action is the key to moving anything forward. All we are missing is the third leg of accountability, coming soon!
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