Bias for Action: Why is it important and How do you Develop it?

Have you ever been in a situation where things could’ve been better had you only took a certain action right away? I guess we all have been there. What caused us to freeze? Maybe it’s the fear to fail, or maybe we might have had over-analysed the situation, whatever the reason, it all would probably boil down the lack of bias for action.

What is Bias for Action?

It refers to making decisions quickly then regularly acting on them without being distracted by fear or doubt and thus being ready to act on opportunity.

Why is it important to have the competency of bias for action?

 People without this competency tend to procrastinate and fall behind, whereas those who have it pursue goals beyond what’s required or expected of them and act before being forced to by external circumstances. With this, the job we have will get done quickly and with accuracy.

 Having a bias for action gives us the urge to consistently strive to do more and be more thus, making us grow.

 Having this competency will enable us to be ready to seize opportunities or create them rather than simply wait. Without this competency, you most likely will postpone decisions, miss opportunities because you tend to be overly cautious, and become tentative and unwilling to take risks.

Here are some tips that can help you develop this valuable competency:

1. Overcome procrastination

Procrastination is choosing to do something else instead of doing what’s needed to be done. To overcome procrastination, you have to acknowledge that you’re procrastinating. If you have tasks that you feel are boring and uninteresting, don’t set it aside until you feel like doing it instead, finish them right away. Commit to your tasks by focusing on doing and not avoiding. You can write the tasks you need to complete and then specify a time for doing them.

2. Lessen the distractions

When doing tasks we do not like, it oftentimes make it easy for us to fall into the trap of distraction. To overcome this, we need to prioritise things. List them down from ‘priority to least priority’. Set time limits: Try “time-boxing” – allocate a set period of time to a task and see how far you get (“I will de-clutter my desk for 10 minutes” or “I will outline this report and write for one hour” or “I will answer email for 30 minutes”). Learn to say no to activities that will rob you of the time and the energy you need to do those priority tasks. Sometimes saying NO to the least priority stuff is saying YES to the things that really matter.

3. Focus on how you can do something rather than on why or how you can’t – move from victim to victor – seize the opportunity, carpe diem!

Sometimes, when we are overwhelmed with the number of things to do and the difficulty of our tasks, we have the tendency to get stressed and pressured by them causing us to cower in helplessness and fear. These feelings can in turn affect how we do our tasks including our output. To overcome this, we first need to examine what’s holding us back – frenzied work hours? Stress? Overwhelm? Resentment? A drive for perfection? Identify them and deal with the root cause. We also need to change our mindset and think of the challenges we encounter as we do our tasks, as opportunities to learn and grow.

Developing a bias for action is not as hard as you think it is. You just have to start somewhere and start right away.

Indira Gandhi said it best:

“Have a bias toward action—let’s see something happen now. You can break that big plan into small steps and take the first step right away.”

Don’t overthink things. Focus on the things that really matter. Start now!

At People Builders we have a team of expert trainers and coaches who can help you and your team develop bias for action. Contact us today for a quick chat to see how we can partner with you to train and coach you and your team.

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