Thought for the Week: “Doing” is not always “Advancing”

"Never confuse motion with action." Ernest Hemingway

Often we are frustrated at the lack of forward progress of our teams or individual projects, so we train and develop in areas such as strategic planning or project management. Yet we find that the the execution of these plans still suffer. Why is that? We define our objective, create our plan, and then we set off on accomplishing the objective. Isn't that how it's supposed to work?

One of the tendencies of leaders when we are frustrated with a lack of progress is to become very busy around the plan. We feel pressured to do something and as a result, we spend more time listing actions than evaluating them. We forget that being busy is not the same as being productive. This extends to our teams as well…having MORE people busy doesn't mean MORE is being accommplished.

One example I've seen is when leaders exhibit a mindset that "serious" employees come early and Overworked employees is no indication of a plan in high execution stay late, using this as a sign of commitment. But this is only motion and action…it has nothing to do with achieving the desired objectives. The objective should be the continuous process of achieving goals, not continuous motion on the part of the players. Through reflection, evaluation and course correction if needed, you may find that less time is spent simply going through the motions and more spent on productive and important steps in the process of success.

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