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#3 Commit to action

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

The commitment to action brings the team from mere words to actual results.

Here is a 40-20-40 rule I share with teams
40% = the time spent on preparing the meeting
20% = the time spent being at the meeting
40% = the time spent on executing the agreed actions.

40% is spent after the meeting to do the work that delivers the team results. 40% to make sure the momentum is there. 40% to give the team reason to celebrate.

40% = commitment to action

Allow me to illustrate this with a real-life tale featuring Team X.

Team X had a burning desire to enhance their team meetings, and they extended an invitation to me to witness their dynamics. As I stepped into the role of a coach, I quickly found myself becoming a student in their exceptional teamwork. This team had already built a strong foundation of trust, fostering an environment where honesty, vulnerability, and spirited discussions thrived. What was their secret ingredient for success? Well, it was their remarkable ability to take ownership of their actions in the everyday tasks and challenges they encountered.

Action during the meeting

At the start of each meeting, the team made it a ritual to succinctly state the meeting's purpose and objectives, a practice repeated consistently. Approximately five minutes were dedicated to identifying who required assistance in carrying out previously agreed-upon actions. The emphasis wasn't on revisiting the entire action list, subjecting it to lengthy discussions about why each action was there, its significance, or why it remained untouched (we've all been through those never-ending meetings, right?). Instead, the focus shifted to any new actions generated during the meeting, which were incorporated into the action list if the team could align them with SMART criteria relative to the overarching goal.

Action after the meeting

The team effectively managed their action items between meetings through an online action list. Each time an action was completed, the responsible team member updated the list, providing a brief but meaningful account of its impact. Did the action resolve the issue or contribute to the team's progress toward its goal? Was any follow-up action required? This action list seamlessly integrated into their daily workflow and natural interactions, becoming a part of their behavioral fabric. This not only saved them time and frustration but also prevented unnecessary rework. Most importantly, their consistent commitment to action led to continuous improvement, providing ample reasons for the team to celebrate. They genuinely relished their work.

If you find this approach appears overly structured or mechanistic, or if you view action lists as energy-draining tools, remember that it's not about the list itself; it's all about the people. Consider the tremendous social and emotional effort required to lead a team to this level of wholehearted commitment to their goals, actions, and outcomes. The trust Team X had cultivated was rooted in the team members' unwavering dedication, not just during meetings but also in the crucial moments after when the actual work had to be done.

As Simon Sinek aptly put it, "Without action, we only have words." In this team's case, their ambitious goals met daily practice, resulting in an impressive 40% of success.

So What?

Meeting time is precious for professionals. Ensure that every minute counts!

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