What Is Action?

What is action?  That question was posed at last week’s gathering of the San Francisco Bay Area Coaches   chapter of the International Coach Federation, where we were privileged to hear from Bob Dunham, who leads the Coaching Excellence in Organizations program at Newfield Network.

So what’s the answer to the question?  According to Bob, action is produced by commitment, which is different than the idea of motion, or things happening.  Under this theory, the unit of an organization’s work isn’t the task, it’s getting the agreement that happens before the task is performed.  All the results a group gets are due to conversations that previously did, or did not, happen.  One of the most important conversations is to make sure people are really saying “yes” to a request.  How many times do things fall apart because someone agreed to do something, but their agreement was in fact only reluctant at best, and perhaps even resentful?  You know what the outcome is likely to be when that happens — effective teams are not built on resentments.

What steps are you taking to make sure you are really listening to the people you are communicating with?  Are they saying “yes” to you when they really want to say “no”?  Do you know why?  And what are you as a leader doing about that?

In short, it was a thought-provoking evening with ICF.  I’ll be back!



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