Four tools for turning decisions into action
I find that the most successful people have tools and systems for turning their decisions into actions. The things I decided to do in life are not nearly as important as the things I actually do. Deciding to get exercise, learn a new skill, get a better job, start a new business, and so on through New Year’s resolutions, frequent or occasional inspirations, or anything else that seems appealing yet may be fleeting without something bringing forth the action to complete the vision.
Have a partner or a team. The Internet has isolated so many of us that we lack the benefit of having other people who start the day at the same time, end the day at the same time, and share processes and ideas to keep the project moving.
Google, IDEO, Apple, Campbell, Exxon Mobil, and nearly every other business use business teams to carry out their goals.
I have read criticisms of teams or, rather, committees, for the ways that joint efforts can throw projects off track. As I read these criticisms, I find is that the problem is not in the team concept but the team selection and structure.
Start with a team manager who can bring leadership, direction, motivation, energy and focus to the team. Add team members with different, complimentary skills and experience. For example, if you are creating a financial planning team, the team leader might be from the finance department, but the members might be from a variety of departments who can add ability and creativity to the team.
In many cases, the team leader report to a director of teams who is not a member of any team, but is the person who appoints members to the teams, and directs the teams through the team leaders. The head of marketing or sales or any other department might supervise the team leaders for innovation, product development, insights, labeling, advertising, branding.
Teams come together in meetings. Scheduling meeting to afford the greatest use of the skills of each employee is critical. A demand planner might take part in team meetings for finance, sales, marketing, and logistics.
A head football coach might be a good example of a team director. The head coach has team leaders who manage the development and success of specialty teams in modern football: quarterback coach, special teams coach, linebacker coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator, offensive line coach, secondary coach, strength coach, defensive line coach, and coaches with special skills in working with kickers for punting, kickoffs, on-sides kicks, and field goals.
On a small-scale, your team might just be you and your partner. In a family business, the team might be two sisters or a mother and daughter in a garage, a kitchen, or in the case of a new household product, even the bathtub, where they create the vision, draw up the plan, develop the financing, and maybe even create the products right where they will use the product.
Gordon LeBoeuf, the person who trained me recruit, owned one of the top four executive search firms in the nation and owned the Carter/Bryant (named after Amon Carter and Bear Bryant) employment agency in Houston. Prior to recruiting, LeBoeuf had played professional football and had worked as a national marketing manager for Pfizer Pharmaceutical.
His advice was that I needed two things: (1) someone to work with and (2) a place to go to work.
Develop outside sources. Reading and listening to motivational and inspirational speakers that talk about my own goals is very helpful. Reading, watching videos, or listening to speakers who have been successful at achieving their goal creates the motivation and provides the instruction for getting the job done.
Find a quiet place and a quiet time. I have found times when I have become so absorbed in reaching my goals that I failed to recognize that I was too tired to be effective. Failing to act was not tripping me up. Stopping to rest was tripping me up. Walking away from my desk and sitting somewhere else, some place quiet and restful, can bring tremendous energy and clarity.
Act motivated. Acting motivated can bring real motivation, enthusiasm, and energy. I have found that simply performing the actions of being happy, motivated, and full of energy can result in my being happy, motivated, and full of energy.
- Smiling, even when I am alone
- Clapping my hands or snapping my fingers with or without a crowd or music
- Saying “thank you,” especially to myself
- Singing, especially when I am alone
- Giving compliments, even to myself: “You did a great job!”
Image: Marcus Pink/Flickr