Action Wheel Leadership
Action Plan Template - Six Features of Action
The essential leadership question is: What is really going on? With the generic features before us, we have what we believe are the essential generic questions every leader should ask about an ongoing event in order to ensure an adequate answer to that one overriding question of what is going on.
Existence is the ground and the setting of action. It is the from which of action, and it both limits and makes possible any action. Resources are one product of existence, but existence is also the ecological and historical setting of action. Without existence, an action is disconnected from its particularity, or uniqueness, and from its past. Existence is the aspect of action that personal leadership theorists attend to.
Meaning is the why of action—that for which we act. The particular values, reasons and rationalizations that justify a particular action constitute its meaning. However, any general list of values is simply a resource; a value or a reason must be specific to an action in order to posses meaning. Meaning evaluates, recommends, justifies and makes sense of life. Meaning is the context of action, just as existence is the setting of action. Meaning is the primary concern of the ethical leadership theorists.
Any aspect of an action that refers to its direction—its toward which—constitutes mission. All terms as purpose, expectation, aim, vision, goal, intention, objective and desire point toward an action’s mission. Although many authors distinguish between these terms, at the generic level, all the terms indicate the toward which of action. Mission is the primary concern of the visionary leadership theorists.
Power is the actual expenditure of energy. Power is the decision, commitment, passion and volition that energizes mission. Power is the by which of human action. Power is the primary concern of political leadership theorists.
Structure is the through which of action—the plans, institutional arrangement, maps, forms and processes that order and funnel the power toward mission accomplishment. Without structure, energized mission has nowhere to go. Positional/functional theorists focus on structural concerns.
Anything that is useful, measurable and needed to accomplish the mission meets the criteria for a resource. Resources are the with which of action, and without them action languishes. Team leadership theorists are focused on the resource feature of action.
Fulfillment is the completed act, that into which meaning, mission, power, structure, resources and existence converge at any given time and place. Thinking, doing and being converge in fulfillment. If the mission is to write a poem, the produced poem is fulfillment. If you want to give a speech about your leadership program, you could predict that the speech, to be complete, would consist of at least six parts.
Some actions produce objects separate from the actor, such as a poem. Some actions, such as speaking, are integral to the actor while acting. Some actions are virtual, such as imagination; some are actual, such as walking. Fulfillment, we should note, does not imply ethical action. It is any completed act.
Every human act reveals the six generic features, all the time, every time. These features are explicitly or implicitly present whether the action has happened, is happening, or will happen. The features are present, even if the actor is unaware of them.
If any of these questions is left unanswered the resulting picture of the event is distorted.
The questions can evaluate completed, ongoing, or future events. Using the questions prospectively is most complicated because the questions seem to demand predictions. However, the role of the questions when we are anticipating any action is to say that there will be meaning, mission and power issues in the anticipated action, just as there are in present and past actions.