Action Wheel Leadership

The Action Wheel


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The Action Wheel Leadership Model was developed by Dr. Robert Terry and has been used for more than 30 years in organizations worldwide.

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Action Wheel Model

Here, in Bob's words, is the theory that supports the Action Wheel process:

Creation of the Action Wheel, (in his book, Authentic Leadership: Courage in Action,  is rooted in authenticity and acknowledges that leadership requires more than a general view or "guesstimate" of what is going on. The leadership question is: what is really going on? Therefore, the ability to frame an issue correctly is essential to leadership. For as we frame issues, so too will we solve them.

I propose an issue-framing, or action-framing, tool which I call the Authentic Action Wheel. By using the Action Wheel, we can dissect human action fulfillment into six component parts.

Then, if we want to redirect our attention and shift the action outcome to a new possibility of fulfillment, we can know what we are doing and why we are doing it.

I will illustrate how the tool functions for each of the six generic features.

I will also discuss the form and process of the Action Wheel, that is, the wheel’s structure. The formal relationship among the generic features is important to an understanding of all human action and of the issues that action raises.

Formal Relationships of
Features of Action

Effective theory seeks to connect the parts of a particular model in ways that generate new insights, perhaps even wisdom.In the case of the Action Wheel, my objective is to connect the parts in ways that improve our ability to understand key issues.

I have also been guided by two hypotheses:

The first is that all human action is structured the same—in every act, in every situation. In other words, the generic features of action are related to each other in a particular and a universal form, which is displayed in the figure below. Action itself, the completed act or fulfillment, is the central focus, and thus is in the center of the wheel, surrounded by the six features.

Action Wheel Model

The second hypothosis is that:

All aspects of the model are implicitly present in every act. Therefore all features of action must eventually be addressed in any proposed action. What is critical is the location of our attention and the direction of our engagement at the outset of the leadership task.

The 6 features of action are:

Meaning: Guiding values, principles and ethics

Mission: Goals, objectives and desires

Power: Energy, motivation, morale, control

Structure: Systems, policies and procedures

Resources: People, capitol, info, equip, time

Existence: History and identity, both limits and launches the organization

Fulfillment: The promise of Authentic Leadership

Fulfillment is the completed action that embraces existence, resources, structure,power, mission and meaning.

So, how do we know when we are engaging in authentic leadership action?


Action Wheel Community

You are part of the Action Wheel Community if you have ever learned about the Action Wheel, participated in one of our workshops or leadership courses, or visited our website. As part of this community, you will able to read about experiences others have had with the Action Wheel and share your own experiences as well.

Do you have a story, memory, or question about using the Action Wheel in your professional or personal life? Please share it.

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