We all have those common phrases, adages, and sayings that we rush to use in our daily lives. Those comfortable and comforting little sentences that get dragged out over and over.
For those who know me well you’ll appreciate the irony in me making this claim in the title here. I’m one of those people who manage by cliches until the cows come home.
In some ways that might make me additionally qualified to call out one much overused saying that really needs thinking through.
Any action is better than no action.
Well, those who read Eckart Tolle will be familiar with this. Many managers make free with this phrase also.
I recommend caution when applying this in the real world.
If your action takes you in the wrong direction, then it isn’t better than no action. If your action keeps people and other resources busy and not helping you achieve your goals, then it isn’t better than no action.
The rule, as described by Tolle, applies when you are stuck. When things haven’t been clear. When taking some action is intended as a kind of “pilot” exercise to learn from. In that way you can assess whether that action takes you toward or away from your goal, or even clarifies for you what your goal should be!
If you are clear on your goal then the action to take should be clearer. In that case, absolutely! Get cracking! Take action that gets you moving in that direction. Just keep checking that the action you have taken is really in the right direction.
Otherwise the wise words of John Wooden will suddenly make real sense…
There is never enough time to plan things well, but we always seem to find time to fix things that didn’t go to plan!
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