How to Create Your Personal Action Bias
It’s essential to do things “right,” but it’s more important to take action. Period.
John consistently seeks out mentors, looks for best practices, solicits others’ perspective, and scans his environment to see how he can improve. John has one big problem, though. He’s unable to convert intention and theory to action.
Many brilliant entrepreneurs and business people either stagnate or flame out because they’ve failed to act. (Conversely, premature or overly risky actions create the same result; yet I’ve never seen someone “inact” their way to success. Please drop me a line if you’ve witnessed this because I’d love to hear that story!)
There are two other important points to consider about action.
- Action is motion with a strategic purpose. Motion without strategic purpose is nothing but wasted energy.
- “Doing” is not action. Many confuse the two. “Doing” is a task or operational-oriented activity that, while necessary for day-to-day functionality, does not advance you toward your overall goal.
The best leaders understand these distinctions—even if only on a subconscious level—and structure their days with a bias toward action.
What can impede creating a bias toward action?
Characteristics that Deter Leaders from Taking Action
Inaction can stem from many sources. Here are just a few:
- Complacency—One way this can manifest is with a second or third generation owner who inherited the family business and does nothing to ensure the organization will remain relevant.
- Overconfidence—Have you ever seen a business so sure of its moat’s unassailability that, before they realize it, their moat has become a noose?
- Fear—Fear can be a paralytic force that manifests in analysis paralysis, inability to make a decision, or risk-aversion. All manifestations are terminal.
Action, on the other hand, is deliberate and purposeful.
Five steps to Create a Bias Toward Action
- List it out. Make a list and then circle the three most important things. Reorder your list with those three items at the top.
- Chunk it. Break the top three items from your list into a series of separate components.
- Estimate. Estimate the time it will take you to complete each “chunk.” Then increase your time estimate by 40 percent. This will help you avoid the “planning fallacy” and optimism bias regarding the length of time required to accomplish tasks or objectives.
- Schedule it. Place each chunk on your calendar. Scheduling a task substantially increases its likelihood of completion versus merely placing it on a “to do” list.
- Exercise accountability. Find an accountability partner and schedule regular check-ins with them to ensure that you’re moving toward your goal. If nothing else, verbalizing your progress (or lack thereof) will help to reinforce the imperative to take action.
All successful leaders take action. The only question is whether you will join their ranks or remain mired in inaction.
If you need help creating a bias toward action, let’s chat.