Turning Aspiration into Action: Almost every leadership meeting and casual conversation around the water cooler includes philosophical or aspirational discussion aboutwhere we want to be as an organization.

We can see it in the distant future- maybe its being the world’s #1 car company, being the top energy producer in the Mid-Atlantic region, or being a world-class heathcare provider. These discussions in the aspirational stage likely include a lot of “woulda-coulda-shoulda” which goes like this:

  • “If only our employees would...
  • “We should be doing...”
  • “I wish we could...”

As leaders, we generally know where we want to go and get stuck with the HOW. How are we going to get there and when are we going to have the time to implement the HOW.

We wallow in the NOW, angst about the HOW and wish for the WOW.

So, how to we make the connection between the now (where we are) and the wow (where we want to be)?

The first step is to think about and understand what we need to DO differently to achieve our goal. Make this kind of thinking a habit when in a leadership meeting, at a workshop, or brainstorming...take your thoughts into the HOW once the goal is established.

The next step is awareness of the roadblocks that exist around the DO something as a result of the conversation. DO happens at the intersection of skill, knowledge and desire- most often the skill and knowledge are not the issues- the desire is where organizations’ dreams deflate due to roadblocks such as:

1. Habits- it is hard to change habits
2. Comfort zone- we have always done it this way
3. Hassle factor- will consume too many resources
4. Resistance to change- why change? we are doing just fine now
5. Lack of support systems- we are not set up to do that

After thinking about all of that- working uphill- it hardly seems worth it.

But it actually IS worth it because if we keep doing what we are doing, we are going to keep getting what we are getting. The organizations that excel are those with effective leadership that can be nimble and are willing to put a full concerted effort into the ACTION necessary to improve.

Focus on the DO while reaching to achieve the vision

People who attend workshops to improve their organization- their Customer Experience, for example, should make it a habit to think about how to translate the words on the page (and the conversation) to “What can I actually DO”, “What behaviors can I change?”, “What can I do differently to impact the customer experience?”

For example- when you talk about or hear about your aspirational goals, think:

1. What do we DO first?
2. How can we DO it now- right now?
3. Who can/should we tell?
4. Those that we tell-How do we want them to feel?

Taking these actions and focusing on them one step at a time as a means to achieve your vision will get you there and make what is seemingly an incredible uphill battle more DO-able.

Tomorrow is begging you to do something TODAY.

What are you going to DO right now?

Action Plan Template Action Planning
ABOUT DONNELLY EFFECT: With over 20 years of Disney leadership experience, Mike Donnelly, Chief Experience Officer (CEO) of Donnelly Effect shares his insights on Talent Selection and Hiring, Employee Onboarding, Customer Experience, Workplace Culture and Leadership- among others. Donnelly Effect is home of the exclusive "World-Class Workshop" series and offers consulting services and keynote addresses to audiences of all sizes and industries. Since 2004, Mike Donnelly has been a contracted Disney Institute Facilitator, delivering Disney training to audiences across the United States.