Taking Action – It’s the Cornerstone of Success


By karlsmith-then…, 23 September, 2011

To be successful, you have to do what successful people do and successful people are highly action-oriented. People at the top of every profession share one quality — they get things done. This ability supercedes intelligence, talent and connections in determining the size of your salary and the speed of your advancement. So many times, we plan to do things. We’re going to develop a networking or referral plan. We are going to start a business. We are going to implement our strategic plan. We are going to have a meeting. We are going to make the change. But do we act on our decisions?

Yes, actions do speak louder than words. The old statement that ‘knowledge is power’ is flawed; knowledge is only potential power: Nothing happens in this world until you take action says Karl Smith, founder of Business Networking South Africa. Knowledge is really only power in reserve. It remains useless if it's not tapped into by applying action. Knowledge that is not put to action remains just knowledge in your head and provides no benefit. It's completely wasted!

It doesn’t matter what we’re “going to do”. What matters is what we actually do. It’s all about taking action. Many people and organisations know what they want, know exactly how to get it and also have the correct resources to get there, have endless meetings, but they don’t do anything about it. The biggest struggle that these people and organisations face in achieving their goals is that they do not take action.

The great Isaac Newton once said, “All objects are at a state of rest until an external force is applied”. Meaning; without taking action, everything else remains at a standstill. Every great accomplishment either in business or in life came as a result of certain actions executed by certain people in a certain way at a particular period in time. Nothing simply just happens by itself, people make things happen by taking calculated and consistent actions.

This is because in the final analysis, it’s not what you know or who knows you, thought and even plans that ultimately bring about success; rather it’s the eventual actions you took that brought about the success.
People who are successful will have an idea, they’ll do some research, some due diligence and then they will take action.

Despite the simplicity of this concept there is a perpetual shortage of people who excel at getting results. But taking action can be difficult and hard. And so it’s easy to wind up in Lazyville or Procrastinationland. So how can you break out of such behaviour and develop a behaviour of taking more action? Here are 5 ways you can grow the action habit:

Be accountable to yourself – In the long run a more consistent and perhaps healthier way to develop a habit of taking more action is to answer to yourself instead of others. To set your own standards and principles for how you will behave. Over time you can become more and more consistent with acting according to your own standards. The key to develop this kind of thinking is to get off a dependence on external validation and be more internally validated. If you rely on being accountable to others and their validation then you may grow but also feel confined by what others expect from you.

Remember that ideas alone don’t bring success – Ideas are important, but they’re only valuable after they’ve been implemented. One average idea that’s been put into action is more valuable than a dozen brilliant ideas that you’re saving for “some other day” or the “right opportunity”. If you have an idea you really believe in, do something about it. Unless you take action it will never go anywhere.

Get down to business immediately – By becoming someone who get to the point and get things done you’ll be more productive and people will look to you as a leader. Once people see you’re serious about getting things done they’ll want to join in. The people at the top don’t have anyone telling them what to do. If you want to join them, you should get used to acting independently.

Don’t wait until conditions are perfect – If you’re waiting to start until conditions are perfect, you probably never will. There will always be something that isn’t quite right. Either the market is down, or there’s too much competition. In the real world there is no perfect time to start. You have to take action and deal with problems, if any, as they arise. Learn from your failure and build on that confidence.

Drive fear and inaction out of your organisation - The economic loss due to fear and inaction is appalling. The fear of making mistakes feeds a cycle of not learning, not knowing and not doing. This sets organisations back and the gap between the doers and non-doers ever widens. Treat failure to act as the only true failure. Give people second and third chances. If people don't have multiple chances, how will they ever learn?

The difference between success and a good intention lies in what we actually do. If you want uncommon results, you must undertake uncommon action on purpose, with the right intent, taking responsibility, with persistence, with resolve, with passion and according to your plan. The world doesn’t pay you for what you know; it pays you for what you do. So are you “going” to do something? Or are you doing it?

Copy right. This article may be copied or republished with the following credit:
"By Karl Smith: speaker, author and founder of Business Networking South Africa” Cape Town, South Africa. +27 (0) 71 444 2210 karl@businessnetworkingsouthafrica.co.za www.businessnetworkingsouthafrica.co.za"