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Taking Action: Fostering Groundbreaking Achievement

taking action

A monthly leadership blog focused on taking action in transformational business leadership and developmental communication, courtesy of and authored by Phil Henderson.

Top-performing manufacturing organizations are results-oriented, and recognize that taking action, as simple as it may sound, is often the difference between ground-breaking achievement and good, but average, performance by those who prefer to “play it safe”.

Last month, I described how communication improves when employees are comfortable sharing knowledge and information with the leaders, and with each other. The process of gathering information is an important aspect of teamwork and team-building: the significance of “finding right” with, and through, others to “get it right”.

“Rightness”, in this context, isn’t exacting – or a destination. It’s always just beyond our reach. The act of reaching is important. In fact, it’s essential. It represents taking action. Reaching is doing.

My default, so to speak, is to take action.

Inaction just isn’t in my DNA – never has been. Taking action has served me well, both personally and professionally. I’m not saying I’m flippant in my decision-making; I’m objective. I gather information, and I process it. As soon as I have enough information to choose a better direction, I choose that direction… and then continue searching for the next, better direction or decision.

When is enough information enough? I don’t know the exact answer to that question, but I do know this…

  • “Analysis paralysis” is waiting for that final data point to absolutely guarantee success.
  • Don’t let perfect get in the way of good enough in decision-making.
  • Operate with directional edge. Take action when objective information suggests a better direction.
  • Great leaders and great organizations take risk.

We hear people say, “Well, I’ve decided to…” or, “We’re going to…” and then go on to say what they’ve decided, or are going to do.

It’s like a company deciding to grow revenues by 25%, reduce waste by 15%, increase profits by 5%, etc; I’ve learned to hold my “That’s terrific!” response to such statements, until I hear and see the taking action of such decisions.

Deciding isn’t doing. Deciding is a process and doing is the action – don’t confuse the two.


taking action; organization; leadership; Phil HendersonPhil Henderson is a former Regional VP of Manufacturing Operations at Harland Clarke Holdings. He is as a Designer of Self-Directed, Team-Based Work Systems in manufacturing environments over the course of 26 years. He served 8 years as an Air Traffic Controller and Officer in the US Army, and with distinction as a Captain in the First Gulf War. He currently provides leadership development and self-directed work team design assistance to Trenton Forging. For inquiries, Phil may be reached at (210) 316-3212 or at

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