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It’s All About a Plan for Action



Successful people just do more things than others do. They take more action; they are not risk averse. Clear goals drive their activity. They stay busy working on the right things at the right time. They also have important common characteristic: They take action.

Tom Peters, the author of “In Search of Excellence”, reported in this book that an important common quality of the executives he observed was what he called a “bias for action.” They realized that the future belonged to those who were action-oriented, willing to take the right risks at the right time and committed to following a plan.

Having clear and specific plans are necessary to make sure that whatever action you take is effective and achieves the desired outcome. A plan also makes it easy for you to pay attention to the details as well as the big picture. Here are five key points to take into account when you are ready to “act”:

  1. Set Checkpoints – All action should be built around a plan and for the plan to work you need to have interim checkpoints to measure progress.
  2. Responsibility and Roles – For any plan and the needed action to be successful, everyone must know the following: What they must do, by when, how to do it and why they do it.
  3. Ground Rules – Make sure everyone knows the parameters of their responsibilities; when they should seek help and how problems need to be resolved.
  4. Feedback – Make certain that periodic, objective and specific feedback is given when needed. People work best when they are communicated with about their performance and what they can do to either sustain it or improve it.
  5. Celebrate – When the goal has been achieved, celebrate and recognize it. It doesn’t have to be a “state dinner” type celebration. Just take the time to recognize what’s been done and say thank you.

The most important single factor needed to act effectively is “self-discipline”. Whenever I talk about self-discipline, I always refer to the definition offered by Thomas Huxley (1825-1895) which states, “Self-discipline is doing what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it even though you may not feel like doing it.” Even small steps acted upon in a consistent manner will lead you to success. 

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