Choice, practice, action

If you are anything like me, you probably have a pretty good list of beliefs and values you hold dear. You might even have them written down somewhere or make them part of a regular prayer, affirmation or meditation.

The organizations you belong too–whether it’s a corporation, non-profit, church,  temple, mosque, club or a more loosely constructed tribe–likely share a core set of beliefs and values as well.

And this is all good. But it’s just a start, a foundation. Necessary, but not sufficient.

For me, if I’m really honest with myself, I often struggle to move beyond the idea of–or belief in–something, into the actions that belief implies.

In organizations, an annual report or speech by the group’s leader frequently speak to attitudes in support of stated values or strategies, but often little evidence of doing anything meaningful. For real. Over time. Failing better. Adjusting. And forging ahead with resilience.

From the 12 Steps to Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths to Brene Brown’s 10 Guideposts to Wholehearted Living–which is genius by the way–and countless other disciplines, there is a common theme of building awareness, accepting reality, committing to certain attitudes and then taking action. All too often I know I forget (or fear) taking the last, critical step.

I forget it is a conscious choice to embrace action in addition to having the right attitude. It is a choice to pick deeds over creeds. A choice to go through my fear instead of around it.

Deep down, I think many of us unconsciously embrace a fantasy that we can quickly become good at something that is fundamentally difficult. We’ll figure it out, muscle through, stay late at work. Societal norms only serve to reinforce these misguided notions.

Similarly, brands think they can quickly figure out social media, though a recent study shows 68% of CEO don’t have ANY experience with social networks. Companies set ambitious goals for innovative growth, but have little recent experience putting anything truly new into the marketplace.  With predictable regularity, organizations spend months or years studying problems only to be surprised when they fall woefully behind.

Most of the time, we need the practice, we must actively cultivate the habit.

Whether you are inspired to be the change you want to see in the world or be the proverbial “Man in the Arena“, don’t forget it is a conscious choice to move from belief to action and it takes practice.

How many reps will you get in today?

Author: stevenpdennis

Steven Dennis is a trusted advisor and thought-leader on customer-centric strategic growth and innovation. As President of SageBerry Consulting, he applies his C-level executive experience to drive growth and marketing strategy for multi-channel retail, e-commerce and luxury industry clients. He shares his ideas and wisdom regularly in the press, as an industry speaker and through his popular blog "Zen and the Art & Science of Customer-Centricity"( Prior to founding SageBerry, Steven was Senior Vice President of Strategy, Business Development and Marketing for the Neiman Marcus Group. As a member of the Executive Committee he drove the company's major growth initiatives, multi-channel marketing programs and customer insight agenda. Before joining Neiman Marcus, Steven held leadership positions with Sears, including Acting Chief Strategy Officer, Lands' End acquisition integration team leader, Vice President-Multichannel Integration and General Manager-Commercial Sales. Earlier in his career he was with NutraSweet and the global management strategy consulting firm, Booz & Co. Steven received his MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BA from Tufts University. In addition to his consulting work, Steven is an executive-in-residence at the JC Penney Center for Retail Excellence at SMU’s Cox School of Business, President of the DFW Retail Executives Association and serves on the Advisory Boards of Invodo Inc. and Nectar Online Media. He is also active in the social innovation and education reform arena as a Partner and member of the Board of Directors of Dallas Social Venture Partners. He is currently co-leader of DSVP's investment and engagement with SMU's Center on Communities and Education "School Zone" initiative in West Dallas.

2 thoughts on “Choice, practice, action”

  1. This post applies exactly what I’m currently learning in Consumer Behavior about beliefs, attitudes and actions in a real-world context. Synapses are firing!


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