Actionable Outcomes

I often quote the inversion "don't just do something stand there".

There is such a strong tendency, indeed cultural pressure, to be seen to be doing something in business. We used to joke at the BBC that when someone was promoted to a senior role they couldn't just look around and say "Everything looks fine to me I'll leave it alone." They got more brownie points for screwing things up than for doing nothing.

It is for this reason that I react badly when people get all macho about demanding “actionable outcomes” from meetings or presentations.

Does taking the time to think more deeply about stuff that really matters before you do something stupid count as an actionable outcome? Does thinking long and hard enough to fundamentally change your perspective on life in a way that affects your future interactions with people count as an actionable outcome?

I suspect not.

2 thoughts on “Actionable Outcomes

  1. It’s not a popular view. I attended a meeting recently and opened with ‘I suspect I’ve been invited because you expect me to sign off all the decisions you want resolving on the fly today. Let me make it clear from the outset, that’s not going to happen’
    Didn’t stop them trying though… all I wanted was a few days to process the information and a chance to consult with peers. Three days later, they got their decisions – mainly approvals to proceed – much better outcomes than those they would have had if they’d forced me into a corner.


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