Action – Achievement = ??

This picture was floating around on Facebook last week:

It triggered an interesting conversation with Juan. I interpreted this picture as making a statement for people who talk about their complaints or talk about things they wish they would do and never take action to make it happen. But is action the answer? Action of course matters, but can become quickly pointless and energy draining if you aren’t gathering data on the impact of your action (= results) and if there is no purpose behind your action (= achievement). I’ve experienced a lot of people and organisations taking lots of action, and sometimes taking the same action over and over again, and not having any idea about the impact their action is having because they don’t track and measure their impact. Furthermore, their action starts to become meaningless because they have no objective or purpose so they can achieve.

What are your thoughts: Action – Achievement = ???

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6 Responses to Action – Achievement = ??

  1. Gina says:

    I completely agree with you… the equation is not as simple as having only two factors on it, there are many other that have to be considered in order to do not have “shit” as a result. In my opinion, achievement is only one of those factors, and based on the nature of the equation, the variables can be infinite. I personally would add goal or objective to the equation, somehow. If there is none, the action is pointless and the results or achievement meaningless. A last thought… in this equation, does the order of the factors, in fact, alter the product? 🙂

  2. Hi Araz,

    “Action – achievement” for me equals “action – assessment about the outcome”. And for me the score = impact. As human beings we are always in action. Even not taking action is an action given that it will always have an impact on us and others.

    As human beings we are very trained to go back to our actions when we experience results/consequences that we did not want. Either because we personally did not want them or our environment pushes us. So often I see people going back to their actions with ambition – people honestly want to achieve the desired result – and do the same thing harder, longer, faster etc. Most of the time – our noses to the grindstone – we are not aware that our actions are shaped directly by the observer that we are. The observer I am – how I see the world – determines the possibilities that are open or closed to me. What would happen if we would dedicate time as individuals and as organizations to explore the observer that we are?

    In this time of crisis and the adagio of “doing more with less’ I see that the space to reflect – having other conversations than conversations for action – for people and organizations is ever more decreasing. In this light, the picture that triggered the conversation “Talk – Action = Shit” for me points to this paradigm. It points to the believe that all conversations need to be focussed on action. And the assumption that all conversation that are not focused on actions are worthless. I believe in the long run this will cost us hugely on all levels.

    As a coach it is my passion to be in conversations with people around the observer that they are so that they can expand and shift. So that that they can lift their heads up from the grindstone, away from the action and make space and freely explore how big they can get.

    I still think you should be a student in our programme 🙂 You would love it.

    Take care,


  3. Araz says:

    I agree Gina that the order and the relationship between the factors alters the outcome. And Laura I see a close link between taking the time to observe the impact of your action and taking an additional step back to observe and be aware of what is influencing your observation and the therefore the type of observer you are. And I have noticed indeed that there is a underlying belief we seem to hold that conversations for the sake of exploring, sharing and exchanging ideas are useless unless they end up always in concrete actions. Some of the challenges we face require reflection and conversation to build a deeper understanding as they are quite complex – so they will require time before we can come to conclusions in which action can have meaningful impact and not cause chaos.

    Gina and Laura thanks for your comments – really got me thinking more on this topic!

  4. creampie says:

    Poste vraiment intéressant !

  5. Vachement fascinant : selon moi ce poste intéresserait mon ami

  6. Splendide poste, j’en parlerai demain avec certains
    de mes potes

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