The way people take action is very much innate to who they are. It is common to assume everyone takes action in a similar manner; but if you observe an organization closely, you will see many different methodologies working together.
While these different styles of action can create a level of tension, it is a good and necessary dynamic for ensuring the actions taken are also targeted and solid.
Here are some of those dynamics.
Assess, then act.
These are the “thinking doers” in an organization. They will get things done and to the finish line, but they take time to quickly assess the situation and develop a strategy first. While a fast-action leader may be seeing that initial time as lag time, it is, in fact, of great value to the mission. It is the kind of planning on the front end that prevents delays and issues on the back end.
As a leader, you will want to give this team member time to think first, with an established time to begin action. They will create an efficient process and, in the end, save enormous amounts of time and money that may otherwise be needed for customer service issues, technical problems, litigation, or quality control issues.
Consider all options.
These are those deeply analytical team members who create detailed spreadsheets and financial forecasts. They consider all possible risks, complete with mitigation and remediation plans. While they can quickly see where a fast action leader wants to go, they can also see the many details of actually getting there.
For the fast action leader, this period of evaluation and analysis may feel like quicksand. But it is important to know the pros and cons and to count the cost and do the projections, at least to some degree, before taking action. This ensures you are doing the right things that will serve the organization well. And, in the end, it keeps the organization on track for profit. It is good to have a deadline for the analysis part of a decision. This helps to contain the details into a timeline that is still conducive to action.
Take action immediately.
In a “ready, aim, fire” scenario, these are those who “fire” first. There are scenarios where this is exactly what needs to be done. In the case of an emergency, this immediate action is needed. In the case of an incredible opportunity, there are those times when you must act quickly and just go for it, without knowing all the details.
For a leader who is not a fast action taker, this may seem quite risky and dangerous for the organization. And it can be. But it can also be of great value if channeled correctly. If you are the leader of a fast action taker, be sure they know the boundaries for their decision-making. And be sure they are well-supported with a team who can quickly assess the situation that is in motion and pull together the details and resources to carry it through to completion. Provide them with a counterpart who can quickly see their idea and help them determine if it is a worthy pursuit.
Innovate, investigate, initiate.
This is a great combination of strengths that work together well. You need innovators in an organization. You also need investigators for due diligence. And you need those who know when it is time to initiate action. Without initiators, teams can get lost in innovative ideas or investigative analysis, and nothing would ever get done.
As a leader, you will want to be vigilant to ensure that all these facets are in play and working well together to keep the organization fresh, solid, and moving forward.
These are the quiet ones on the team, who watch and observe. While it may appear they are not taking action, they actually are very active in their thinking process. They are hearing what needs to be done and then mentally laying the bricks in place to make it happen.
If you are leading a team, you will want to pause here and there to allow this person to tell you what they see. While you are looking at the very next step or at the horizon, they are on the road to getting there. There is value in knowing what they may be seeing on that road.
The thread that ties all these styles together to create the best action is negotiation. Negotiation has two meanings. One is to come to terms of agreement. The other is to move safely through a challenge. This is exactly what a leader needs to do when it comes to taking action.
You will want to negotiate the process.
Do you need to take quick action?
Then you will want to turn to the quick-action team member, but also negotiate the roadblocks by pulling in a strong support team.
Do you have a major decision that will affect the long-term viability of the company?
You will want to bring in the analysts first to weigh the risk and opportunity factors.
Do you need a smooth process for a marketing or technical initiative?
You will want to bring in your “thinking doer” to take the lead, with the ideators playing the support role for innovation.
What kind of action taker are you? Do you have a strong cabinet of “action advisors” with complementary skill sets?
This helps to ensure the right things get done well. And that translates all the way to the bottom line.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer, and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, and using the Maxwell Method, Deb helps leaders and teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results