Action – Timing is Everything

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Never confuse motion with action.” 

One of the eight priority scales that DiSC profile measures is Action.  In construction management, we always look for someone who has the ability to “make things happen”, as opposed to waiting around for something to happen.  Oftentimes those with high action feel prompted to move on something quickly.  Oftentimes this causes the processes for construction management and staffing to be rushed.  Some examples:

  • A bid proposal with no specific bid date and time we sent too quickly, only to receive a price that wouldn’t be profitable.
  • A concrete pour moves forward without an updated set of plans causing more time and cost for the fix.
  • Resigning from a job without a signed offer from a new employer, only to find that the new offer falls through.
  • Sending an email claiming that someone did not complete a task, only to find later that they had.
  • Hiring a new employee without a thorough interview process or reference checks only to quickly find out the person did not have the experience or reliability they portrayed.

In business and in our personal lives, we are faced with opportunities and make decisions.  The time we take when acting on the things involved with those decisions can determine the outcome.  Contrasting personalities and communication styles can push for answers, only to get the one they least wanted. If you ever raised persistent teenagers, you know exactly what I am referring to.

The DiSC assessment offers advice for when communicating with an Action-oriented person who is reliant on someone of a more moderate temperament to accomplish parts of a project they are working on together.

  1. Give people time to put their thoughts together, rather than assuming their silence means agreement or lack of action.
  2. When making changes to policy or something with which people need buy-in, show respect for others who may need time to adjust to change.
  3. Remember to step back and show patience to others and understanding of the goal before charging forward.

I am a high-action individual driven by a high priority for results. Once I hired an office manager who was both high action and high energy. Unfortunately, because she moved at the speed of light, her actions did not produce results.  She moved faster than I could think about what she said.  It was therefore not the right environment for her in the long run, for we have a culture of detail and collaboration requiring us to work independently on tasks while allowing time for others to collaborate on them.

“Doing things” and “doing things well” are different concepts. 

Give the email a second read before sending.  Take a few seconds before responding. Ask a question back to clarify before answering.  Think about the process and the goal before moving forward.

To Actionable Results,

Suzanne Breistol


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