All talk no action?

“Don’t talk it, walk it” – Lars Ulrich

For just over 40 years I played basketball at many levels that ranged from a social game through to playing in a semi-professional league. Regardless of the level I played, the teammate who frustrated me the most was the player who talked a good game, but their level of play couldn’t back it up. In some cases, they were blissfully unaware of it, whereas other occurrences saw the player always having an excuse for why they were unable to do what they said they would. Players like this were the teammates I knew I could trust the least when it really counted with the game on the line.

We sometimes work with colleagues who talk about what needs to happen, but they don’t take action themselves. They might have all the theory and even come across as quite an expert, but results don’t transpire. That might be fine if they’re a coach but it’s a problem if the person is in an operational role. It can be frustrating working in an environment like this.

What’s really going on is "talkers" are either poor at execution or there is something in the way that’s simply blocking them. Organisations recognise value “talkers” might provide due to the ability they have to communicate well an understanding of the issues and solutions. However, besides hoping “talkers” will sort it out, organisations don’t know how to unlock and leverage their potential. It’s in these situations that some kind of intervention is necessary.

There could simply be a disconnect between the role a person is in and their capability. If this occurs, then there either needs to be training and mentoring to upskill them or they need to be placed in a more suitable role they can succeed in.

Alternatively, inaction can be a fundamental productivity issue. This is where a personal productivity initiative can help because it will unlock the workflow and behaviours that are going astray. The outcomes will be:

  • More time available from an efficient workflow that’s aligned with how the person works best
  • A way to plan and prioritise that makes execution possible
  • Having the clarity to focus on what’s important

Operational excellence is based on establishing a plan and actioning it. Ensure talking and action are aligned with targeted results. Who in your team needs to improve at taking action?