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CreAction

By: Colby Chapman | Sep 12th at 8:22am I recently had the opportunity to attend a leadership conference; it was a wonderful experience with all of the usual leadership training and motivation. One of the speakers I enjoyed the most was Leonard
Schlesinger President of Babson College (the top entrepreneurship college in the world) his academic career includes 20 years of leadership and teaching in the Harvard MBA and Executive Education programs, also he was the vice chairman and COO of Limited Brands.

The title of his talk was "Action Trumps Everything" and it hit home for me.

I don't' know about you but I often find myself stuck in the minutia of planning, thinking, wondering, and predicting what will be the result of my next step. Of course the problem with this method is that prediction only works to the extent that the future is the same as the past. To me the world is rather unpredictable and very rapidly changing and developing, adapting and evolving (for better and worse).

The problem for me is that I often find that if I can't be certain of an outcome, which is fairly often then I allow fear to slip into my thought process and it can hold me hostage.

I would often question myself on how I could allow this to happen and I found myself thinking things like "Perhaps I don't have enough faith" or "Maybe I'm not a 'real' entrepreneur." Doubt would set
up shop in my mind and I'd begin to wonder "Why am I risk adverse? Why do I fear failure?" Well I could discuss how most of those fears are cultural and taught to us from a young age (but I will save
that discussion for another day). We don't hear the many failure stories of our favorite entrepreneurs we hear about how they shot up to success at a young age and with great ease, how they are practically super human. Not that the failure rate of all new ventures in the last 25 years is 60%!

The point is Prediction has its place, a very valuable place, but even better is combining prediction with CreAction. CreAction is a term coined by Mr. Schlesinger and his team as they worked on their research. He explains that "CreAction is based on acting and creating evidence, as contrasted with thinking and analysis." The idea is that you can think all day about doing something but it is the action of taking a small smart step in the direction you want to go and then adjusting to the outcome, learning from it and taking another step and then repeating this cycle.

Schlesinger breaks it down like this: "Action leads to evidence, which becomes fodder for new thinking, which leads to (more) evidence, which becomes (additional) fodder for even more thinking, which leads to more action which..." and it goes on and on.

Mr. Schlesinger lists some reasons why this happens.


  • If you act, you will find out what works...

  • If you act, you will find out what works...

  • If you never act, you will never know if you are right or wrong

  • If you act, you will find out if you like it

  • Or you don't

  • Acting leads to a market reaction, which could take you in another direction. If you are open and flexible you may find yourself successful in a different area than what you originally had predicted

  • As you act, you can find people to come along with you

  • As you act, you can find ways to do things faster, cheaper, better.

  • If you act, you won't spend the rest of your life going, "I wonder what would have happened if.."

  • If all you do is think, you are less interesting as a person.

  • If all you ever do is think about stuff your knowledge is all theoretical, not real world



Action always leads to evidence. Therefore you learn and can act again If you act you know what is real, and that always helps make your next decision. Talking to people is acting...at zero cost...just make sure to act upon what you learn. It seems the cost of doing more thought, before you pull the trigger, is zero. But there is a huge opportunity cost that could be at stake.

For all these reasons and many more action does trump thinking when the future is highly uncertain.

The idea of "CreAction" can be used by each one of us. In my personal life, I can apply these concepts to marketing every day. I like the concept of CreAction because it frees us to act! It allows us to create results, to learn from what we did and obtain better results for our clients. Marketing opportunities are constantly developing and with an uncertain future we have the ability to shape the future by utilizing CreAction. How about you? Are negative predictions and fear holding you back from accomplishing your personal or business goals? Of course it's good to consider the big picture. But if that big picture is causing your to get hung up on all of the what if's and paralyzing you, I suggest breaking things down a bit, as Schlesinger suggests, and start by taking one small step. Try utilizing CreAction and see where it leads you. You just might surprise yourself and find excitement in your new challenge.

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