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Action Heroes

Business is about action. ‘People act in order to think,’ says the American academic, Karl Weick. Survey after survey shows that managers spend little time in contemplation and a lot of time making phone calls, having impromptu meetings and rushing around in states of panic.

As the moment is seized and squeezed, the sedentary manager is quickly an ex-manager. Before acting contemplate these words of wisdom:

– Stuart Crainer

Warren Bennis Leadership guru
You can be very bold as a theoretician. Good theories are like good art. A practitioner has to compromise.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Leadership guru
Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.
René Char French poet
In action, be primitive; in foresight, a strategist.
Friedrich Engels Communist theorist
An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.
Thomas Fuller British writer and doctor
He that is everywhere is nowhere.
Lou Gerstner American consultant and executive
My choice in everything is to say nothing and go do it.
Greek proverb
Act quickly, think slowly.
TH Huxley British scientist, teacher and writer
The great end of life is not knowledge but action.
Henry Mintzberg Canadian management academic
The manager works in an environment of stimulus-response, and he develops in his work a clear preference for live action.
Blaise Pascal French writer and philosopher
Our nature consists in motion; complete rest is death.
Tom Peters American author
You can’t think your way out of a box, you’ve got to act.
Will Rogers American humourist and showman
Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
Isaac Bashevis Singer Polish-born writer
We know what a person thinks not when he tells us what he thinks, but by his actions.
James Thurber American humourist and satirist
Where most of us end up there is no knowing, but the hellbent get where they are going.

Zoot Muppet Show sax maestro
Ain’t nothing to it but to do it.

Henri Louis Bergson French philosopher
Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.

Pearl S Buck American writer
Men of action whose minds are too busy with the day’s work to see beyond it. They are essential men, we cannot do without them, and yet we must not allow all our vision to be bound by the limitations of men of action.
Benjamin Disraeli British politician and writer
Action may not always be happiness, but there is no happiness without action.

BC Forbes Editor and founder of eponymous magazine
Do what’s right. Do it right. Do it right now.
Harold Geneen American executive
You must not be hampered by yesterday’s myths in concentrating on today’s needs.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe German writer
Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
Ernest Hemingway American novelist
Never confuse movement with action.
Dr Samuel Johnson man of letters
There is no kind of idleness by which we are so easily seduced as that which dignifies itself by the appearance of business.
Nike advertisement
Just do it.
Richard Pascale American management educator and author
The invisible assumption of management is the focus on doing. People are selected because they get things done. But, while doing is variable, being is constant. The trouble is that the being of people and organisations is hard to move. As long as people’s radar are tuned into doing, you have no place to get hold of the underlying issues.
Tom Peters & Robert Waterman Consultants and authors
Do it, fix it, try it.
Peter Senge American academic, learning guru and fifth disciplinarian
Corporations, like individuals, need time out for reflection.
Robert Louis Stevenson British writer
The mark of a good action is that it appears inevitable in retrospect.

Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back
Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.

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