Action Style

The Action Style profile assesses operating style by surveying proactive behaviours that tend to be effective when used selectively to suit specific situations.

Based on ten guideline ‘principles of war’, these are not hard and fast rules. The Profile also assesses priority setting and self-perception of results to check how effectively people think they operate.

This profile is affected strongly by the environment in which people perform. Personal action styles reflect that and change with the environment.

Preference Factors assessed by this Profile are:

Factor Name Description A Low Preference
A High Preference
A.Set Priorities Indicates the degree to which we schedule and revise activities and
timings that enable people to function together. People who react to external demands, constantly
shifting their attention and effort from one priority or task to another tend to have high
scores for this factor.
Environment dictates priorities for activities. Deals with situations
and issues as they arise and as resources allow.
Thinks ahead to get priorities in the right order. Priorities are
realistic and within capabilities, works to meet deadlines.
B.Pursue Objective This factor embodies three concepts:

  1. objectives are a focal point for everything;
  2. select objectives consciously and deliberately;
  3. commit to pursuing those objectives with energy and tenacity.
Moves attention and effort from one objective to another. May be distracted from them in some way, else objectives may not be clear. Pursues selected objectives with single-minded determination, choosing them purposefully, and directing all actions and resources toward achieving them.
C.Collaborate The act of giving each other mutual support, whether physical or emotional, trusting each other, solving problems together, and sharing resources, ideas, plans and decisions. Low scores seem to fall into one of two groups. These groups include people who genuinely prefer to work alone (some sales people, ‘back room’ people, for example), and those who are not committed to the group (people at odds with the team’s direction or activities, and people who are about to quit). Self-reliant, able to act independently of group activities, prefers work that allows autonomy. Believes in group strength, works in easily with others. Establishes close working relationships, shares ideas, goals and methods.
D.Concentrate Force We concentrate force by taking all resources committed to achieving an end, focusing them at the right time and place in the optimum balance, and applying neither too little nor too much force. This process includes the underlying concept of doing it right the first time. This factor is next in importance to Pursue selected objectives. Pressures others to act only when that is necessary. Spreads own effort over many activities. Puts all effort into activities, pushes work through and overcomes obstacles – the hard way if necessary.
E.Economise Effort Two principles are at work here: first, use the minimum effort needed to get the maximum result; second, get it right first time. Economy of effort conserves energy by allocating just the right amount of resource needed for an activity and from delegating activities to other people. Delegating needs to be effective from the time it is initiated and throughout its course, otherwise extra effort is required to achieve the end result, and that is poor economy. What’s more, unless work proceeds in the most efficient and effective ways, constant waste of effort results. Works hard to get results through personal effort instead of smart thinking and effective delegation. Looks for easier ways to get results and to use time, delegates where possible. Takes the line of least resistance to resolve issues.
F.Act Assertively We do this to make things happen and get things done. This is the concept of taking positive action to pursue your selected objectives. By acting assertively we say where we stand on issues, stick up for our own and other people’s rights, face up to issues and push for what we want. Nothing happens for us until we take action. We have the choice of making things happen or not. Sees and accepts other people’s points of view. Withholds stating own position unless important or until facts are clear. Takes the initiative with little thought of failure. Confronts conflict, capable of bringing issues to a head. Less forceful people move out of the way.
G.Use Surprise Surprise is a well recognised way of gaining extra leverage. It clearly has applications in a competitive situation. That competition, unfortunately, often takes place inside the organization, person against person, group against group. Expressed positively in competitive situations, Use of surprise brings several valuable behaviors into play – intelligence gathering, strategic and tactical scheming, opportunity seeking, timing as a key to surprise, secrecy as a second key, and alertness. We use these to manage openness and readiness among our own people, or against competitors and opponents to gain an advantage. Doesn’t exploit others or situations. Acts openly, can be caught unawares by exploitive people or unexpected events. Seeks, creates and takes opportunities to act. Alert for openings, chooses right moment to act, moves quickly. Exploits situations and people.
H. Operate Securely This factor has the central concept of ‘protect the plan and continuity of action’. This means we need to eliminate risk, keep resources in reserve, stay within the resources available, keep firm control, tell only those who need to know, and be prepared for the unforeseen. Sees uncertainty in future activities, doesn’t have effective control over conditions affecting plans. Keeps control over resources and activities, avoids unplanned risk. Operates secure from threat, leaves nothing to chance.
I.Manage Morale This factor reflects the standard of personal, team and group spirit and motivation. Good spirits increase energy, drive, confidence and commitment. Some people are better than others in bringing that about. The concept can also be applied to adversaries, to bring their morale to a lower level – a practice we see frequently in sports, with the psyching up of our own people and psyching down of opponents. This can have a significant effect when transferred to competitive markets. Leaves maintenance of morale to others. Apparent lack of concern for morale may have a dampening effect on groups. Contributes to feelings of success and well-being in the organization. Usually calm and in good spirits, concerned for morale, supports others.
J.Administer Administer makes use of five principles: keep it simple, coordinate activities, use resources economically, foresee and prepare for what might eventuate, and keep preparations flexible. These principles translate into activity organized around systems, methods, routines and standards. Doesn’t get organized before starting, resists being organizedby others, steps outside rules and system. Leaves loose ends, detail, tidiness to others. Coordinates activities, plans alternative actions to have things at the right place on time. Keeps work up-to-date, avoids waste, creates order and stability.
K.Be Flexible We try to be flexible to avoid the effects of a rigid approach. We make provision for variances and exceptions so we can adapt to evolving events and situations. We need to find a point of balance where we are neither too rigid nor too flexible for the circumstances, both individually and organizationally. Contributes to consistency and stability but doesn’t shift effort easily from already committed activities. Adjusts quickly to changing situations, shifts effort to cope with new needs. Juggles activities to fit everything in to make the most of opportunity.
L.Evaluation This factor assesses perception of own operating style. People tend to overrate or underrate their effectiveness due to lack of feedback. Where there is a discrepancy between perception and reality, follow up with feedback on actual performance. Not satisfied with own results or the benefits self and others get from them. Either needs comparisons to gauge results or is self-critical of own performance. Turns in worthwhile results, seeks to sustain performance at a high standard. Results come from effective self-management and positive action.

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