Act Different

Act Different

“Action is the foundational key to all success.”

~ Pablo Picasso

Since its inception, some four years ago, the title for this blog has been “Think Different”. I chose it as a tribute to Steve Jobs, as a reminder of the fundamental role of mindset in creating effective organisations, and as a statement of intent.

For me, the ability to think different(ly) has always been the gateway to change, to improvement, to effectiveness, to reducing the egregious waste of human potential we see in so many of our organisations, and to acting differently.


But the two interplay. Action influences thinking at least as much as thinking influences action. Research has shown that acting differently – “fake it ‘till you make it” etc. – can indeed help people into thinking differently.

The Shewhart Cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act) shows the circular nature of improvement, and the interplay between thinking and doing.

And similar themes underpin Boyd’s OODA loop (Observe-Orient-Decicde-Act) and Allen Wards’s LAMDA loop (Look-Ask-Model-Discuss-Act). Not to mention the Scientific Method more generally.

And as a counterpoint, I like this quote originating with Martin Gabel:

“Don’t just do something, stand there.”

~ Martin Gabel


We don’t have to effect a change in our actions all at once.

“You can make a 180° change in your life by making a 1° change in what you do.”

~ Raymond Aaron

Raymond Aaron suggests that If you have an idea for a new way to act, do it now. Yes, I know, that can sound daunting. But he points out that you don’t have to do it 100% now. Even 1% now is a start. And making a start is a key aspect of acting different. It’s what differentiates acting different from thinking different.

Positive Deviance

Another way to begin acting different is explained by the idea of positive deviance. Go look for positive deviants, and start practising what they’ve already been doing.

“It is easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than think your way into a new way of acting”.

~ Jerry Sternin

Think Different by all means, but look for action on acting different, too.

– Bob

Further Reading

The Power of Positive Deviance ~ Richard Pascale & Jerry Sternin

  1. meekrosoft said:

    I’m reminded of something Jon Jagger often says – “It’s easier to act your way into thinking different, than to think your way into acting different.”

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