Leaders are often in a hurry to see Action when it comes to implementing an improvement.  “How quickly can I see people using the new system?  Which region is using it first?  If we could get people to use it now or sooner, that would be great.”

The expectation of leaders is that people move very quickly to Action, where they are taking noticeable steps to progress the improvement. This is difficult for people when they have not become Aware of the need for improvement or their Awareness has not developed into Acceptance. In these situations, leaders often label their behaviour as “resistant” and associate negatively.  In actual fact people may have been participating in the behaviour modification process and developing through the 6 Stages on The Z at an acceptable rate.

The issue with a leader’s fixation on obtaining immediate or rapid Action, is that this drives a different and misguided process where the 6 stage Z process (con versus pro decisional balance) is not completed.

In these situations, people feel forced to Acknowledge, Acquiesce and take Action without the necessary information or time required to truly Accept the need for improvement. We call this Actuation.

The leaders themselves have usually had months to go through a full Z decisional balance process before releasing the improvement on those who will need to modify the way they work. Yet their unrealistic impatience can result in this forcing or Actuation process.

The impact of this is often that, at the first sign of difficulty or bugs in the new way of working, people check out as they don’t even have a logical acceptance of the need to improve. The result is that the improvement effort will slowly fade away or be replaced by the next big thing.

The learning is that forcing early Action or Actuating will not build the strength of support required to face the difficulties that will be encountered in any improvement effort. It is a false time economy for leaders and likely to derail the improvement.