FoooDo – The Actions Model
Have you ever wondered why sometimes the things you are working on just come together, and sometimes it just does not seem to click? People often put this down to luck. While ‘right time, right place’ is always useful, you might be surprised to learn that people who consistently deliver make their own luck.
There is no magic wand here, but there are some areas that you need to consider, and bringing these together will enhance your chances of success considerably. With over 40 years combined experience and a lot of studying of the relevant literature, we set about creating a model that anyone could use. A simple model, easy to remember, which brings together the required steps. We created our Actions Model.
Our clients have nicknamed it FoooDo (which we love!), and when you use it you might think there is some magic going on. In reality, FoooDo is an Actions model, helping you think about all the moving parts of getting things done.
No tricks, it is just releasing the potential already inside.
FoooDo is used to drive productivity or continuous improvement, and deliver change. It helps leaders and managers coach and engage the people around them, providing a simple structure to think about and deliver amazing results.
Focus is about three things. Knowing what it is that you want to do (the WHAT?), understanding where it fits (the WHY?) and building up enough belief to allow you to move forward (CAN I?).
It does not matter if you are working on a massive project, a specific task or solving an issue, developing an understanding of exactly what you are aiming for helps focus your mind on the task at hand. Using a range of techniques, you can build clear succinct goals that will help you understand the outcome you desire, success criteria and timescales.
Understanding the ‘why’ is essential to motivation. How does this fit with everything else you have to do? An understanding of how we are motivated, and how we can influence our motivation ensures that we keep ourselves and others on track when the going gets tough.
However, knowing what we want and why it needs to happen is not enough. Maintaining momentum requires us to have enough belief to get started and the ability to manage belief as it inevitably rises and falls as we navigate the journey towards achieving our goal. When belief falters, often so does progress. Building belief in yourself and others is a key part of the FoooDo process and links directly back to the way we are consciously and unconsciously thinking about ourselves, others or the situation.
Once you have clear focus about what it is you are going to do, you can develop Options around the ‘how’. The Options section of FoooDo separates out creative thinking from critical thinking, freeing up your mind to explore lots of different ways that you might consider.
Creative and Critical thinking use very different parts of the brain, so to get into a flow it helps to separate these processes out. Anyone who regularly attends ‘brainstorming’ sessions will be familiar with this difficult mental flip, when someone shoots down a good idea before anyone has time to build on it.
Using a range of different techniques, Options keeps you in the creative space to get the ideas flowing, expanding the choices in planning or problem solving. The techniques we use allow ideas to be gathered in advance or quickly developed in the moment and can be used individually or in groups. Whatever technique you use, make sure you explore Options.
“If it were not for everyone else, this would be easy…”
Even the smallest of tasks requires working with others in a modern connected world. Most people stick to a small group of people close to them for everything they are working on, missing out on the wider skills, experience and expertise available. Considering Others is about looking wider at the resource available: from experts to enthusiasts, there are lots of people willing to help you – if you know how to engage with them.
Getting others involved requires thinking about three things:
- What help do you need?
- Who might be able to provide help & support?
- How might you be able to engage them to help you?
We help develop influencing skills, as well as enabling people to define clearly and communicate what it is that they want ensuring that they get the right people at the right time to ensure success. It is not just about the people you need though, Others considers the ecosystem of people affected by the change or vision you want to implement, helping to ensure that blockers are removed, and advocates are brought in early in the process.
Something to think about…
Have you ever made great progress on a project or goal, only for a business stakeholder to come in late in the day and throw a spanner in the works?
Who might we need to involve early who could otherwise create obstacles for us later in the process?
Once you have ideas, it is time to decide which ones to focus on. Organise is all about understanding that not all ideas are equal and time is precious, so decisions need to be made to determine where to focus resources.
This is critical thinking in action. Being able to review the Options and evaluate which ones to work on first (WHAT), by WHEN it needs doing, and who is the best person to lead it, is something some leaders appear to do naturally, but it is a simple skill that anyone can learn.
Organising your thinking can be very simple, using techniques such as an Ease vs. Impact matrix to categorise the ideas, ensuring that people don’t fall foul of behavioural biases that would normally focus us on the easy ideas first, regardless of how good they are. Understanding that something is going to take a lot of effort for minimal return provides the permission our minds need to park it while we work on something that offers a greater return or impact.
We picked this word deliberately because success is all about being able to ‘Deliver’. Often we work with people who are too busy ‘doing’ to be able to see if they are delivering against their goals.
Deliver is about getting things done. That might be doing stuff yourself or working with others to drive results. Getting started is half the battle here, ensuring that we can take action even though we may not have all of the answers, or have the tools to deliver results in an age of uncertainty.
As we start to do things we learn more. Sometimes from direct feedback around the things we have done. Other information becomes available over time or is made available by the people we meet along the way. How we incorporate and respond to this in an agile way helps to increase our probability of success.
Are you embracing or rejecting ownership of your results? This might sound like a strange question, but we often use language or think in a way that rejects ownership. This is because it makes it easier for us to deal mentally with the situation when things don’t quite go our way. “I would have been OK if it wasn’t for…” is a classic rejection of ownership.
The reality here is that we all own our own success, whether we like it or not. Consciously taking responsibility changes our approach, helping to ensure that the things we are doing are prioritised correctly, as well as changing the way we delegate tasks to others.
Potentially one of the simplest parts of FoooDo to understand, and yet one of the most difficult to implement.
With ownership comes motivation. When people are given choices about what to do or choices about how to do something they are more likely to act upon the things they have chosen.
Psychologically we like to feel like we are each in control of our own destiny. That we are making the choices that affect us as individuals. In other words, we have to take ownership to really make anything happen.