If you’ve observed predators in the wild, you may have noticed that they operate in cycles. Most of the time, they display barely any movement. They project a sense of calm focus, as if they’re waiting for a particular moment. Then it happens! They’re charged with intensity as they sneak up on their prey and attack. When the mission is completed, they return to their original calm and the cycle starts over again.
To be effective, organization builders and managers need to find a way to tap this rhythm of passing between reflection and action, between activity and repose. Any project or initiative whether individual or on a team, require four stages that demand deliberate attention before moving on to the next. This helps create time to think and for collective discussions that lead to a successful endeavor. The following are four stages to consider in using this approach:
Reflection: Evaluate the current situation. What underlying beliefs or theories seem to affect your thinking? What is your purpose and goal for the final results?
Connection: Create ideas and possibilities for action. What should you be looking for? What conversation and training is required?
Decision: Settle on a method for action. Choose and refine your approach. Decisions incorporate an element of choice. “Here is the alternative we choose to take, and here are the reasons why”
Action: Perform the action. Your tasks will be supported by the other three stages which came before.
When the project is completed, you move immediately back to the reflection stage and perhaps a formal evaluation of how it all worked out. Practiced regularly, this method becomes a part of your organizational culture. Using an intentional, self-conscious process like this for decision-making and planning can enable leaders and team members to be more confident in the outcome. Everyone on the team contributes to the process and supports the final decision.