A Quality of Thought: “Actionable Actions”.
One of the negatively impactful strategies that keeps us stuck and out of action is to hold on to un-actionable action lists. Which, of course, aren’t really action lists.
Whether those lists are on post-its and scraps of paper, our devices and computers, in our minds, or all of the above, we tend to think in terms of un-actionable concepts. The big projects. The areas of work that need attention. The complex priorities.
For example, when I ask you what you have on at the moment, you might say: well, I’m focused on delivering priority project X for priority client Y, we’re accelerating our recruitment drive and we’re building the fiscal plan for the next year.
And thinking at the project level is useful when I’m in Vision mode or when someone asks me for the high level.
But when it comes to Execution, I want to get back to actionable actions. And what we don’t do as a regular habit is reduce our project-level thinking to ACTIONABLE ACTIONS. And that’s the list I want to carry around with me and focus on.
An easy check for how good you are with your “reduce big projects to actionable actions” habit is to look at your list and ask: If I had 15 minutes right now, could I complete on that action?
For example …
In 15 minutes, I can’t “accelerate our recruitment drive”. But I can setup the next strategy update meeting and invite my recruiter.
I can’t “deliver client X’s priority project”. But I can make a call to my lead architect and ask after the tech issue we’ve been working on and agree next steps.
I can’t do much with my “increase my visibility within the business” project. But I can call my primary stakeholder’s PA and ask for some time on her calendar for a catch-up.
I can’t realise my ambition to “become a key person of influence” in my industry. But I can brainstorm a list of exciting and powerful topics for a keynote I’d like to create.
I can’t “improve the morale and harmony of the team”. But I can ask my admin support to research options for a team away day.
Take this to heart, now.
When you’re stuck and out of action, have the discipline to notice what level you’re thinking at. And take steps to get back to a list of actionable actions.