As I continue to slog through my daily dose of news from both right here in the Heartland and around the world, two things stand out to me:
The huge amount of rhetoric being created by various factions to support their ideas and beliefs, downplay or demonize beliefs and ideas opposed to theirs, and persuade others to agree with them.
The real dearth of actionable ideas that attempt to make true collaboration, and not just blindly and loudly support one side or another.
Collaboration, and its much-maligned cousin, conflict resolution, are not as much on display during this festive holiday season as is simple thinking, discussion through slogans, ignorance (willful or not) about the realities of various issues, and a decided tendency to hunker down with those who think like we do. This perpetuates a group-think reinforcement of whatever we believe, with little regard for actually examining issues to decide the most proper course of action.
But that’s not what the above image is about.
This is simply my statement that we need to move from Intent to Action to Results. A few more thoughts around each of those words:
INTENT: WHAT WE MEAN TO DO …
Hopefully this is more than blind allegiance to any group or spouting of simplistic and hate/fear-based slogans. Our intent ought to represent our honest and objective examination of an issue, based on credible and objective sources of real information about that issue.
Men of good faith can disagree about intent after examining an issue using critical thinking … the difference is that each person can explain and support their position without resorting to name-calling, stereotyping, giving in to fear, or thoughtlessly chanting slogans which represent any of the above.
If our intent is the result of intentional learning and rigorous examination, we will know not only what we hope to do, but how to go about doing it.
ACTION: WHAT WE ACTUALLY DO TO ACCOMPLISH WHAT WE MEAN TO DO …
Sharing and declaring, shown by clicking “Like” on Facebook is fine and reposting something that truly reflects your intent, belief, or value. Just fact-check it first with an objective source and make sure that it represents your position, and does not vilifiy or demonize others simply because they believe differently than you.
However, engaging in the Social Media Wars is not really action, unless you are Taylor Swift and can marshal your minions effectively and quickly. Most of us are just whistling in the winds and making ourselves feel good about ourselves.
True action means moving …
… Beyond just declaring and sharing toward actions that actually make a difference in both your life and in other’s lives.
… Beyond your comfort zones to those places where you feel what you are doing.
… Beyond words to behavior that actively reinforces or supports your values and beliefs.
Action is measurable through our physical, intellectual, and financial behavior.
RESULTS: WHAT ACTUALLY CHANGES BECAUSE OF WHAT WE DO …
The proverbial bottom line is all of this is results are what changes people, organizations, issues, and society. Going back to Intent for a minute, results are what should flow naturally from a solid examination of an issue and some considered reflection on your role in addressing that issue.
Results are like actions in that they can be measured, either directly or through impact on observable things.
If you are unable to clearly and specifically describe what you hope to carry out within a delineated time by engaging in specific and measurable actions, you are just hoping for a better world.
If your actions come from a clear plan to acheive specific and clear outcomes, you are on your way to changing the world … or at least a part of it.
This is leadership in the broadest sense: Using self-leadership to understand and solve problems, using the power of All of Us. True leaders spend the time to analyze, clarify, rate, plan, and take action to support movement toward a greater good … at least, that’s the way I see it these days, as the holiday season blurs my vision and the political arena becomes more and more surreal.
How do you understand all this?
Enjoying the challenge of helping all the energy out there drive positive and lasting change in the Heartland ….