Overcoming the dilly-dallying of survey action planning
12 Oct 2018 - Blog
We would probably all agree that action following an employee survey is of vital importance, yet when it comes to the execution of them we often seem to lack the ability to build the right momentum and get things done.
Why do we delay certain tasks until the very last minute? Or worse yet, why do we entirely avoid doing a task that should take precedence over other tasks? Why do we lack discipline, motivation, organisation, and become easily distracted? It is estimated a high number of us are procrastinators. It’s quite a troubling phenomenon and I wouldn’t be surprised if in some ways it contributes to UK’s ‘productivity puzzle’. Here are some of the reasons as to why we delay action:
Lack of meaningful goal: if the goal is not perceived as meaningful or important, or the task is not seen to contribute to a bigger picture then it is likely distractions and boredom will kick in and actions will be dropped from the list.
Fear of failure: we can be afraid of failing so we don’t get on to it in the first place. Some of us go a step further with ‘self-handicapping’, placing obstacles to hinder one’s own performance to provide an external reason for any failure, protecting both self and social-esteem.
Personality trait: conscientiousness, one of the big five personality traits, is known to be one of the best predictors of success, primarily the ‘industriousness’ component. The lower you are on this scale the more likely you are to procrastinate.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” (Aristole)
If you know yourself to be quite the procrastinator, and do indeed have a survey action plan to write and act on, there are things you can do to certainly go from serious procrastinating to proactivity. Before acting however, there is a responsibility for senior leaders to be on board and treat this with a sense of urgency. This involves senior leaders communicating clearly why it is important and demonstrating the commitment the organisation will be making. Without the right influence and leadership buy in, no amount of action planning will work.
Half the work is done if senior leaders are on board and following some of the thoughts below will help you executive that plan perfectly.
Overcoming procrastination requires practice and repetition until the habit sits in your subconscious. The more you do it the easier it becomes. In Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Outliers of Success’ he provides a compelling case that clocking up the hours makes someone an expert in something. Keep repeating the behaviour to make it a habit. Break your old habits by replacing them with these new ones and over time you will no doubt see the ideas and action plans becoming the reality.
Thanks to Costa Antoniou, Business Psychologist for this post.
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