There was a very funny Aussie beer advertisement on TV that showed a group of mates standing together at a BBQ with one of them loudly voicing his opinion about how various things should be done. Finally someone challenged him to move beyond just talking to show the group how he could do everything so much better than others. Before long they had him working doing all kinds of jobs around the yard, like cleaning the gutters, while the rest of them were left laughing behind his back because they had managed to finally shut him up.
Don’t you hate it when someone voices a very loud and often contrary opinion, but then that’s all they want to do, i.e. have an opinion. To get that person to back up their view with positive action is usually unsuccessful.
I have found that in an organisation it is ideal to remove from the culture any sense that it is acceptable to sit back and have an opinion without taking any responsibility for making a difference.
A key learning in my life has been that there is very little point in thinking or talking about what could or should or might be done in any given situation unless I am willing to back myself and take responsibility to keep having a go until what I believe/want/desire actually happens.
Even when things are bad, and heading in a negative direction, it is pointless for me to sit and criticise the problem unless I actually come up ideas that contribute towards a solution and am willing to help take action to make that solution become reality.
Didn’t someone say, “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness!”
What is it about human beings that we can sit around and talk about something and come up with all kinds of ideas about what is wrong and what should be done, and at the end of the discussion we actually feel satisfied that we have done something about the problem? But the truth is nothing has happened! No action has been taken! Nothing has changed! Everything is still the same!
I believe this is one of the most important things for anyone to realise especially in business (though it is true in life and relationships) that it is only ever ACTION that counts for anything! Thinking, preparing, talking, contemplating, more talking with more people – these may be important steps preparing for action – but NOTHING HAPPENS UNTIL THERE IS ACTION!
This is the reason that committees (or teams) rarely work unless there is a designated leader who assigns a person responsible for actioning every decision within a clear time frame.
What kind of world might it be if we redressed the imbalance in the ratio between talk and action so that talk was only allowed if it was followed up with appropriate and responsible action?
I’ve observed that as humans we all tend to judge others by their actions but ourselves by our intentions. I’m sure there would be a lot less conflict and a lot more respect in business, in relationships, in families and in every sphere, if we stopped judging and opining and decided to take responsible action.
What have you been talking and thinking about that is demanding action right now?
Maybe Nike is right after all.
Of course this is true. There must come a time where consideration becomes implementation or nothing changes. Also I think it would be better if all actions were preceded with at least some consideration because all actions have re-actions or consequences… but maybe that will be another blog.
I have allowed for the need to think and prepare to act in the article, that for me is a given.
Having said that, I would rather action, any action, even unhelpful impulsive action, than mere talk and fear of taking action in case of being wrong!
I can forgive the impulsive action person quicker than the compulsive talker because they are at least understand my basic premise that NOTHING HAPPENS UNTIL THERE IS ACTION!