Don’t just have ideas

21st June 2016

Have you ever been to a meeting, agreed lots of actions…

…and then found they didn’t happen?

Thought so.

There are lots of reasons why this happens. But one often is that the actions weren’t actions. They were ideas.

For example, last week, I saw a Sales Director end his meeting with the action ‘so, let’s raise our game and sell more this week’.

That’s a lovely idea. It isn’t an action.

Other ideas-not-actions are things like ‘let’s be more customer-focused, be more efficient, improve the way we do things, embrace our new strategy’, and so on.

Ideas are good things, of course. But, without actions… well, nothing happens.

It’s easy to turn ideas into actions. Simply identify the very first step.

For example, let’s say you want your team to make their presentations more interesting (clearly, a great idea), it might look like this…

‘So let’s agree how we’re each going to start making more interesting presentations. Our first steps are:

  • Look at your diary to identify the next presentation you’re making – that’s the one you’re going to make more interesting
  • Put a diary entry in 2-3 days before it, called ‘prep time: making presentation X more interesting’
  • In that prep time, identify 2-3 new things to include, to ensure your audience enjoys it more than usual. For example, you could X, Y, Z

See how the idea (make interesting presentations) has become an action (add a diary entry)?

And It’s impossible to fail at it! (Though it’d have been very easy to fail the vague idea of ‘be more interesting forevermore’).

So, I could end this Tuesday Tip with the idea-not-action of ‘always make sure that you have actions at the end of your communications’. But, this’ll be much more helpful…

Action point

Preview today/tomorrow’s diary.

Identify the first communication where it’s important that people take action after it.

Spend time beforehand preparing how you’ll end your communication. Remember: it’s essential you help them understand what their first steps are.

After all, when people don’t know how to start, they don’t start.

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