How to translate direction into action

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

How to translate direction into action

I was recently asked,”How can leaders translate direction into action?” The problem rests within the question itself. By separating direction from action, the leader places him or herself in the position of directing and others as the ones who will do the work.

On one hand, that’s OK. On the other, if there is a problem translating direction into action, then a split between doing and acting just adds confusion, reluctance, and maybe even resistance.

My answer to that question: get people involved in planning things that affect them. There are a number of reasons for doing this:

  • It actually can speed up the planning process since you don’t need to re-explain things over and over again
  • The “actors” often can see potential pitfalls that leaders miss since they are closer to the work. Getting them to tackle these challenges before they turn into problems, increases the likelihood that things will go smoothly.
  • When people are a trusted part of the thinking and planning process, they are far more likely to get engaged, and less likely to gripe or resist these changes.

Here are some other quick resources that might help:

How to prepare your team for change

Don’t Shoot – Lessons on Leading Change

Guidelines for holding a planning meeting (a very practical checklist)

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