Action Point Magic
Follow up on what you have said you will follow up on. Make things happen.
You know the situation. At the end of a meeting or a phone call there are a number of action points and you are supposed to follow up on your tasks. It could be a business setting where you are planning next year’s budget or with friends planning a ski trip. ‘OK, to summarize, we have three action points. You do this, you do that, and Fredrik, you do this thing. OK? OK!’
Has it ever happened that you did not follow up, and when someone asked you about that action point you had to admit that you forgot about it? And has it happened that you did not have time to do it, or simply just downgraded the priority?
Has it happened that other people forgot their action points and did not follow up on what you decided? Or that you actually followed up on what you were supposed to do, but the others had forgotten about it? Yes, I think all of the above happens quite often.
Action points do not always come from meetings, discussions and interactions with other people – they also come from yourself, without any expectations from anyone else. You make a note to buy that gift, send that card, call your friend, pay that bill, etc. How you organize your to-do list says a lot about you. How do you manage yours?
– In an app synced with other apps, in the cloud
– A list on paper
– In your diary together with all your other stuff
– In an Excel file on your computer
– On Post-it© Notes all on the wall
– Not at all
Just as we are slaves to our clocks, we are prisoners of our to-do lists. It feels good to tick an item off the list, and it feels bad to see your list of unfinished business growing longer. Life is a long to-do list, and then we die.
Management by to-do list does not sound like much fun, but it is powerful and efficient because it focuses on getting things done. Properly handled, to-do lists get those action points actioned. Keeping a list, and systematically taking care of those tasks, actually creates reality. Say one of the tasks on your list is to make a phone call to someone. You make the call and reality occurs: something that was formerly in your head and on a to-do list now takes place in the outside world! You might think it is banal, but every time you take care of a simple little task, something wonderful happens: 1) Things get done, you turn an ambition into something real. 2) By getting things done, you spread good leadership by following up on your promises. That is Action Point Magic.