Recession Proofing Part 5 - Take Action!Jan 30, 2023
In this series we have explored:
- The value of equipping people in preparing your organization for whatever comes next.
- Assessing to get good data and insights.
- Equipping people to prosper, no matter the circumstances.
- Aligning everything.
Now we take all of that good work and put it into action.
To help bring focus to the specific ways we can take action, here is an acronym that will help:
Does everyone know what their Success Pathway looks like? Does every team know their Success Pathway? Success Pathways are built on clear expectations, standards of performance, visibility of progress, coaching and supervising, consequences, and competencies needed. When a clear and understandable Success Pathway is in place, then a culture of accountability can be cultivated.
A culture of accountability promotes action. Accountability creates an ownership mindset (more on that later). When everyone practices accountability, agility and resilience increase, engagement increases, performance improves. People are the only resource within an organization that can put accountability into practice. For more on cultivating accountability, check out our website and YouTube channel.
What does culture have to do with taking action? Good question. Consider culture here in a way that may seem different.What if you had a culture of accountability, of continuous improvement, of innovation, of getting things done. Then you have a culture that is already taking action. It is an action oriented culture. To not take action would be out of the norm.
Action oriented cultures are on a continuous cycle of prepare, practice, perform. Then the cycle starts over again. Much like the OODA loop we have explored in an earlier blog, The process I am expressing allows individuals, teams, and organizations to be in constant motion. It takes less energy to redirect something that is in motion than to get something started in motion. The key here is to reflect throughout the process so that the direction is in alignment with the desired outcomes. I see many organizations who are "too busy", but most of the time that means there is a lot of mis-aligned activity that is not really productivity. This is where culture impacts action.
For the actions you take to bring the value you want, they should be directed toward a specific target. Target in this context is some type of measure. A goal or objective that if you achieve it, you will add value and increase success. Targets are more than just expectations. They are expectations with specific timelines and consequences.
When I work with sales people, I see a very large disconnect many times. They know what their monthly or annual goal is but they do not know what it will take to achieve that except, "enough sales". That is too vague. Example: I recently worked with an organization that had annual goals for their salespeople, even quarterly goals. When I sat down with individual salespeople, I asked them, "Tell me exactly how many leads it takes for you to get and appointment, how many phone calls to set that appointment, how many appointments to get a sale, and what is your average sale and sales cycle (time it takes to close a sale from first contact to close). Crickets. So I worked with this team to identify those specifics. It took an average of:
- 3.5 leads to get an appointment
- 9 phone calls or emails to those leads to set the appointment
- 11.5 appointments to get a sale
- Average sale is $163,000.00
- 6 month sales cycle (we were able to get this down to 3 months when I worked with them)
Now it became very clear what type of activity was productive. When we added the EQ advantage (using emotional intelligence) it cut the sales cycle in half. We literally improved sales from the inside out by focusing on preparing salespeople, letting them practice, then performing the activities that we knew would be productive. That is the power of having targets! Each of those numbers became a target to hit in the appropriate time frame.
Innovation comes in many forms. It could be small changes that add up or a complete pivot that opens the door to new opportunities. The thing about innovation, it only exists when people take action. Brainstorming, testing, trying, reflecting, learning, redirecting. Notice that all of these are action verbs! Culture plays a huge roll in innovation. Collaboration requires trust. Trust comes from a culture where it is psychologically safe to share ideas and thoughts without fear of reprisal. The foundation for innovation is built on how good the connection and trust are in your teams and organization.
Innovation and creation are not the same thing. There may be creativity in innovating, but it is all about taking what we have and do today and finding ways to improve.
This is such an over used term. The ownership I am talking about is individuals taking personal ownership of their responsibilities and their efforts. Allow me for a minute to take a little side trip. When we do talent searches for critical positions, I see a massive number of resumes. One of my criticisms of most of the resumes that I see looks like this:
- I am/was responsible for...
- My responsibilities are...
- As a part of my responsibilities...
Let me say this as gentle and direct as I can. I really do not care what your responsibilities are/were, did you complete them, did you do them well, how did you do them, what did you learn?
Own your actions. If you own something, you tend to give it more attention. If you own your job responsibilities, then a lot of the wasted time in blaming others, making excuses, and being defensive goes away. Wasted resources of any kind, including time, is something that takes away from action orientation.
Effort is just as important in personal ownership. In truth, our effort is one of the things only we control. A culture of personal ownership extends to personal efforts. We own our efforts and their outcomes. This is true whether we admit it or not. Building a mindset of personal ownership accelerates taking action. It removes roadblocks and bottle necks. It facilitates collaboration and trust building. It is critical to innovation.
Last but certainly not least, we arrive at navigate. Navigate what?
- Emotions in ourselves and others
- Situations and circumstances
I am sure you can add to this list. It seems like most of our days are spent doing one of two things, either avoiding or navigating. The funny thing is, usually the things we avoid come back around so we have to navigate them anyway. There is a secret super power in the list above. Navigating the emotions in ourselves and others. If you explore this, I think you will see that at the root of avoidance, procrastination, and roadblocks are emotions. Two things that people fear are:
- Making a mistake
Not everyone, but probably a large majority of people actively seek to avoid those two things. The problem comes when that stands in the way of forward progress. There are many other emotions that we experience every day. Some of these have a long lifespan in us and others may be short lived. The most important thing to understand about emotions: You choose the emotions that you allow to live on in your life. I am not saying you have control over emotions that are generated when you experience something. But in about 6 seconds, those emotions start to subside...unless you choose to hold on to them. Will there be residual amounts of those emotions? Sure. But our brains have a way of removing the intensity of those emotions over time if we allow that to happen.
Why is navigating so important? If we do not navigate well then forward movement can grind to a halt, or at least slow down. Practice thoughtfulness but in balance with action. Just like our brains work their best when we allow both the rational and emotional parts of our brain to work together. Each support the other creating accelerated outcomes.
Taking action is the fun part. You have done the hard work of assessing, equipping, and aligning. Now you are ready to take action and move forward. Your plans and processes will be the guardrails that keep you on the road and allow you to move quickly and with agility.
Be courageous. Know that most roadblocks people have are self-imposed. You control how fast you go. The more internal roadblocks you remove, the more open the road to your success will be.
For more, check out our other resources:
Copyright © 2023 EQFIT® - Author: Steven Goodner. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions contact: [email protected]
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