Friday, January 27, 2017

Lean Quote: Chaotic Action is Preferable to Orderly Inaction

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Chaotic Action is Preferable to Orderly Inaction.— Karl E. Weick

For leaders, action is one of the most important traits they can embody.  Taking action means getting things done.  It means seizing the initiative.  It conveys momentum, and energy, and creating something new, something that didn’t exist before.  And this excites followers and others who understand that going towards something is always better than sitting around staring at the wall.

Often managers spot a chance to do something valuable for their company, but for some reason, they cannot get started. Even if they begin the project, they give up when they see the first big hurdle. The inability to take purposeful action seems to be pervasive across companies. Managers tend to ignore or postpone dealing with crucial issues which require reflection, systematic planning, creative thinking, and above all, time.

If you do nothing, nothing changes. Things at rest have a tendency to remain at rest. Be aware of items that stall your action. It's better to have a 50-percent improvement right away than it is to take no action and hope for a 100-percent improvement sometime in the future.

The only cure for inaction is action. That’s why the first step in creating a successful culture of execution is creating a bias toward action. People who make things happen need to be praised and rewarded. People who don’t should be coached to change, or weeded out. Failure cannot be unduly punished. Unless people feel free to make mistakes, they will not feel free to take bold actions.


Action hurts now. We’ll get scarred. We’ll be uncomfortable. We’ll take losses. But we’ll grow. Inaction doesn’t hurt now, but it hurts for the rest of our lives. We’ll be comfortable now and be unable to do the uncomfortable thing later. We’ll be made soft by our stagnation. Every day we choose inaction over action it makes it harder to take action. We weaken ourselves. Every time we take action we become stronger.



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1 comment:

  1. Stand for something or sit for nothing. Doing something is always better than doing nothing. Two heads are always better than one. Time waits for nobody while nothing ventured, nothing gained. Decisions where cost is the greatest should be analyzed the most. To really succeed one must become an expert on excellence, attitude, character and work ethic and never be afraid to fail...

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