The speed of actions begins with
setting the stage for success.

When you begin an action cycle, make sure everyone is clear about the What, Why, and How. This will ensure that people move with the necessary speed and effectiveness.

WHAT We’re Aiming to Do

WHAT includes the objectives of the work, the timeframes, the range of issues to be included, and the extent of decision freedom for unhampered actions.

Your probability of rapid success increases when the objectives are succinctly stated, the time frame is realistic, and most decisions can be made without reference to higher authority.

WHY It Is Important

When people don’t understand why the work is important, there tends to be a lack of ownership and commitment. A ‘WHY GAP’ often results in resistance or push back.

Don’t assume everyone understands WHY the group’s work is important. Also, don’t assume that people will ASK for clarification—a request they fear would make them look stupid.

HOW We Will Proceed

People need to understand in what way or manner, and by what means, the aims of the group will be achieved. So, at the start of an action cycle, answer three HOW questions:

  • What are the objectives and timeframes?
  • What is included and excluded?
  • What level of authority do we have?

RULES of Engagement

To Start Smart, set boundaries for behaviors. These are your Rules of Engagement. 

The concept comes from the military world. Rules of Engagement define what is and is not permissible behavior in combat situations. Because they are for a complex, dynamic environment, so the Rules are not static. They adapted quickly when necessary.   

When you create your Rules of Engagement, remember that they must be:

  • Simple to understand and execute.
  • Followed until cancelled or altered.
  • Updated when circumstances change.

Rules of Engagement will accelerate action because people will be empowered to make decisions and act quickly based on pre-agreed criteria.

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