Leading On Management: Don’t Talk…Do!

Why is it that some people just talk about doing things and never do anything?

I worked with Ricky at my first command and he was a great guy. He was congenial, helpful, and a dedicated Dad. We got along well and he would always confide in me about his plans for the future. However, they were always just plans. When I was going to night school to work on my undergraduate degree, Ricky, told me he was planning on doing that. When I was studying for Navy advancement exACTIONCHIPams he told me he was planning on doing that. When I was getting qualified as an Aviation Warfare Specialist, again, he was planning on doing that. Ricky was always talking about doing something and never doing anything. We both transferred and ended up working together five years later. Ricky was in the same place. Same promotion category, same financial situation, and still talking about doing something.

In my experiences, I’ve met two types of action oriented people; those that do things and those who talk about doing things. Me? I always try to be in the first category. Admittedly, sometimes I’m not even doing the right thing but, even then, it usually nets some kind of gain.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of things that need to be done. With some jobs I’ve had, when I would look at them as a whole, the totality of what I was responsible for would cause me to freeze. Then, I would think about Ricky and it would spur action.

If you feel overwhelmed, here are a few actions that can help.

First, take a step. Take a step in a direction. If it’s the wrong step, then sidestep and take another step. Any step is better than no step and, who knows, you might end up in a direction you didn’t even know existed. Ricky never took a step.

Second, get out of your own way. My own negative self talk can keep me from taking a second step if my first step was wrong. Give yourself the same latitude you give others. Coach yourself a bit and tell yourself you can do it. However nice Ricky was, I think his self image was poor. Other people can give you a pep talk but it is your inner voices that will get the most result.

Third, think strategically and act tactically. Look at the big picture of where you want to go and break it into bite size pieces. You can eat the elephant if you do it bite by bite. In the long run, what is going to bite you in the ass that you have to get done right now? Those are the things that are first on the list.

We all measure success differently. Who knows, for Ricky success might have been right where he was at. However, I don’t think that was the case since he always talked about something greater. Wherever you want to be, doing something is the only way you’ll get there. Don’t wait, step out today.

This post has been republished with permission from Chip Lutz

Chip Lutz

Chip Lutz

President and Founder at Unconventional Leader, LLC
Lieutenant Commander Chip Lutz, USN(Ret) works with leaders who want to lead better, get more done and leave a legacy. A retired Navy Officer, he has had two command tours and served as the Director of Security for Naval District Washington, DC during September 11th 2001 – where he was responsible for the safety and security of 25,000 people on 9 different Naval Installations in the National Capital Region during one of our Nation’s most trying times. A seasoned educator and trainer, he is currently adjunct faculty for two different universities and has taught over 20 different classes in leadership, management, human resource development, and organizational behavior. He is the author of 3 books, been published in Security Management Magazine, and has had numerous articles on teamwork and leadership published in Zig Ziglar’s Weekly Newsletter.
Chip Lutz
Chip Lutz

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