« The Reality of Possibility | Main | St Patrick Rocks! »

March 05, 2005

Getting People Into Action!

I got a lot of great feedback, emails, etc on my last blog "The Reality of Possibility" so I thought I'd continue down this path for a bit. Most of the feedback however was centered around - OK, got it, now - how do I get people to stop doing "Business as Usual" and to start getting creative. That's where leadership comes in. Bear with me here.


If we all accept the premise that Results are a derivative of Actions, then the real question is; how do I get people to change their actions? If I'm/we're not satisfied with the Result, how do I/we get someone, or a group of people to change their actions to produce the desired Result? Well, you might want to start with the question; Why does someone or a group of people take the actions that they take? Lets take an example; Why is it that a one 6 year old boy runs up to home plate, gets a certain look in his eye, digs his feat in and takes a mighty swing at the ball. While another boy will walk up to home plate sheepishly, look intimidated and take a half swing, and most likely miss the ball. BTW - I'm using this example because we've all seen it in one way or another. It applies to each and every one of us in differing situations, work, play, personal interactions, etc.

Slide1_1 Why the difference? Becuase the actions that someone takes are a direct correlation to what they see as being "Possible". If you think or see that something is possible, the actions that you take, minute by minute, day by day are perfectly correlated to that. The 6 yr old boy who runs up to the plate, digs in, etc, thinks/sees that he's going to hit that ball. Now he may, or may not but his actions are correlated with the possibility that he sees for himself. Business, same thing. I guarantee you that the employees that are jazzed about something see a great future for themselves in what they are doing. They see a great future for the company. It's true, check it out, have a conversation with that type of person and ask them what they think the future holds for them. btw - some people have a difficult time expressing that but you'll know its there. The converse is true as well. Employees that seem to be going through the motions, guess what kind of future they see for themselves.

You might be asking why certain people see different possibilities given the same set of current circumstances. We are who we are because we are shaped by our past experiences. No matter how much we like or don't like who we are, what we see as possible, our past experiences creep into the picture, consciously or sub consciously and alter what we see, what we believe in. Not much you can do about the past experiences, they are what they are. What you can do is alter how you relate to those past experiences.

So back to the question, how do I get people actions to change? Easy, change what people see as being possible for themselves - as a future.  This is where leadership comes in. It's a leaders job to coalesce people, to have them see what is possible, as a future for themselves, as a part of an organization. And have them see, have them believe in something big and bold. Get people excited about something and really believing in it and it's amazing what will happen. People will start doing things (taking actions) that you would have never thought they would take. And, low and behold, the results start to happen. It's not that difficult. There are fabulous examples of this throughout history, from Kennedy proclaiming "space - the new frontier" and setting the goal of landing a "man on the moon before the end of the decade", to Martin Luther King and his famous "I believe" speech. I use those as widely known examples but there are examples around us in every day life as well. I'm sure you can point to experiences in your life where you've been a part of a group that shared a special experience because you all believed in something. Whether that belief originated from an individual leader or a group of leaders - it doesn't matter.

What not to do: Tell someone what to do. In other words, go to work on changing their actions by telling them what to do. Sure, they will do what you tell them to do, but what happens when you're not there telling them what to do. Or intimidation - doesn't work! Yea, command and control will get an action and desired result but it will be a "Business as Usual" result, not something born out of creativity or a possibility that that person or group believes in.

So, the next time one of your family members, friends or employees seems down or are being unproductive - talk to them. Talk to them about the current situation and talk to them about what's going to be great in the future and why. And then notice the change you get. Notice the change in actions and ultimately, the results. It's amazing what people can do, what groups of people can do when there's a common goal that everyone is energized around. It's even more amazing when that common goal, that belief is out of the norm, where what needs to get accomplished has never been done before - that's where breakthroughs happen.  Get people to believe in something.

March 5, 2005 in Business | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Getting People Into Action!: