Taking Control - the 3rd C
© Seán Weafer 2008 all rights reserved
In this blog I cover the third of my 6C model which is CONTROL. In a world that is continually speeding up - control is something many people fear they no longer have. The reality is that they do have control. However, what they do not do is regularly take some reflective time to decide what their priorities or what their needs are. In the first two C's - Context and Clarity - we have already discussed the importance of defining your own course and taking control of your own environment. One of the ways of doing so was by setting some specific goals to create the vision of an environment that can maximise your degree of success. Once we are clear about our objectives and how they will change our environment, we then have to break every goal down into its constituent parts. Every goal is made up of a series of actions or steps that can be taken to ensure that we invariably accomplish the goal. The Chinese say that ‘every journey begins with the first step' so consider that each action we take to accomplish a goal is a necessary step on the way to success. However what's important here is that an action is as simple as possible. An action can be defined as ‘something that you can do when you leave the room'. In other words, it is something that can be done and has an immediate outcome or result. Make a telephone call, draft a list, tidy a desk - it is something simple, highly specific and immediately has an outcome. An action is not something that can be broken down into something even smaller - for example ‘take a training course'. Taking a training course requires several actions to come into being - book a time, get approval, find the budget - so this might be called a sub-goal. When you have broken your objectives in to highly specific, small achievable actions you will suddenly realise that each action should fall into three categories. The categories are defined in a model which I call CIA: "Control - Influence - Accept for Now". "C" stand for Control - do we control this action, can we act on it now, immediately? This is the first order of change - what we control, we should act upon. "I" stands for Influence - if we do not control this action, can we reach out to someone who does, someone who might act on this for us, can we influence them? This is the second order of change, what might be called a "relationship" action and finally.... "A" stands for Accept for Now - if we do not control it and we cannot influence it, then walk away, for now. Focus on what we can control and influence and "park" what we have no control or influence over. Many of us tend to spend a great deal of our time worrying over things that we can neither influence nor control. By acting on what we control and influence, that which we have to "park" for now, may fall within our control and influence in time. Taking back control means that we have to realise that change is in our hands - and it's in small steps. Once we can start taking action on simple, highly defined steps, that fall under our ability to deliver on - then we take back control and decide the degree of success that we intend to enjoy in even the most turbulent of worlds.