Sometimes I Try to Re-Invent the Wheel!

Despite my years of working with Bob Terry, and my familiarity with the Action Wheel, I sometimes find myself in complex situations where I forget to ask the basic question: “what is really going on?” It is always a welcome “aha” when I remember that the Action Wheel can be used by anyone to frame any issue within themselves, their leadership team, their organization and/or community. If you are open to a “refresher” on the Action Wheel, read on!

The Authentic Action Wheel was first presented in Bob Terry’s book: Authentic Leadership: Courage In Action Bob defined leadership as: “a relationship between leader and led that presses to know what is really going on, to act courageously on that understanding, and to live authentically.”

The Authentic Action Wheel, an issue and action-framing tool, was created to provide the answers to two core leadership questions:

  • What is really, really going on?
  • What are we going to do about it?
  • The ability to frame an issue correctly is essential to leadership. As we correctly frame issues, so too will we solve them. For a free copy of our colorful, one-page handout describing the use of the Action Wheel, just send an email to us at and put the words, one page, in the subject line.

    Some outcomes of using the Authentic Action Wheel:

    • Frame and define what is really, really going on
    • Create a common language
    • Identify and focus attention
    • Raise caution of misinterpreting reality
    • Focus energy towards authentic action and long-term solutions
    • Align people, systems and strategy
    • Engage people and systems
    • Identify ethical challenges, dilemmas and solutions

    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. 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, limits and launches the organization

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

    Anything you are considering, trying to understand, create, or adopt can be put in the center of the wheel in place of the word “Fulfillment.”

    “Over the years, I have found that most issues center on meaning, mission and power, but that our leadership slides too quickly toward structure, resources and existence. We reorganize (structure), throw money at the problem (resources), or pray for a miracle (existence)!” ~ Bob Terry

    Authentic Leaders:

    • Press to know what is really going on
    • Ignite and sustain courage in self and others
    • Test for authenticity in self and in the situation
    • Face the fears that sidetrack and seek to misdirect authentic action
    • Maintain faith in the efficacy of authenticity itself
    • “Leadership is the ability to make wise adept choices, both singularly and collectively, by persons who courageously serve the welcoming promise of authenticity.” ~Bob Terry

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      Authentic Leadership: Courage In Action

Bob Terry

Authentic Leadership

Authentic Leadership:
Courage in Action

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