Author Tim Fargo sums it up nicely, “Who you are tomorrow begins with what you do today.”

To grow, expand, change, evolve, transform or whichever term you choose to describe your strategy, you must DO something. Doing is what leads to progress.

To focus our doing, it’s wise to first define some milestones and action plans. Who will do what and by when? It’s so important but we often miss this step.

I’ve taken part in many board meetings and strategy sessions where amazing brainstorming occurred. Innovative ideas were birthed and built upon by the great minds involved. Rarely were the ideas distilled down into action items. When the group reconvened for their next meeting, the conversation began, “Hey, what ever happened with [fill in the blank]?”

An effective leader has learned this lesson. I’m not just talking about business leaders. This is a lesson for anyone who is striving to be better tomorrow than they are today. It’s about ACTION. “Who you are tomorrow begins with what you DO today.” Consider these six steps, individually or as a group, to get started.

· Assess – What issue you are facing or problem you are trying to solve? This could range from the desire to get into better shape, the idea that you’d like to go on a family vacation to celebrate a milestone, or the reality that your agency technology is out of date and causing efficiency drains. Write it out – this becomes the problem statement(s).

· Cogitate – Invest time to think deeply and reflect on various ways to deal with the situation you’ve defined in the problem statement. Think big. At this point, nothing is off the table – there are no limits. List all the ideas that come to mind for solving the challenge at hand.

· Test – Some of the ideas on your list are likely better than others. Now it’s time to test them against some limitations that may exist. You must define your constraints – things like time, budget, and human resources. Reorganize your list with these parameters in mind to find which ideas are most feasible.

· Investigate – Explore options for turning your vision into reality. Talk with friends and colleagues who may have recently dealt with a similar challenge. Seek out a mentor or coach to help with a transformation. What options are out there that fall within the parameters you’ve defined and could solve the problem? List out the pros and cons of each. Determine the best solution.

· Outline – Map out specific action steps for implementing your chosen solution. Be sure to define roles and responsibilities and include due dates and benchmarks. Clear expectations and predetermined check points along the journey are crucial to your success!

· Navigate – You’ve crafted your plan, now it’s time to put it in motion. You know your intended destination. Enter it into your navigation system and start driving. It doesn’t mean there won’t be traffic, unplanned stops, detours, or bumps along the way, but to get anywhere you have to go.

Action is how you get things doneTo grow and develop, we must plan and act. We must DO. Talk is cheap, ACTION drives results.

As always, we invite you to leave a comment, question or suggestion for a future blog topic.  Check out past posts at AVYST.com/blog.

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