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  • Tiehead

Action Not Process: Death to the Standing Committee

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

While driving home after a recent In-law trip to the northwest-Seattle area, (an essay for a different day), I came across a rather interesting etching carved in the wall of a truck stop urinal....

The etching said: “Action not Process: Death to the Standing Committee”

I thought this rather peculiar, after all, this wasn’t exactly the kind of graffiti one would expect in a coastal Oregon truck stop head and by the manner in which this message appeared on the wall, some time had been taken to craft the message out. Needless to say as I resumed my driving duties I began to think about the etching and its implications.

I was feeling wonderful by the way, rested and focused, truly healthy. Probably a significant part of this could be attributed to my new commitment to quit smoking and my momentary strength.

And then it dawned on me.

It wasn’t just the vacation atmosphere and being with my family, it was something much larger that was fueling my positive frame of mind. For nine days I hadn’t been caught up in a bureaucracy, in a process. For nine glorious days I lived an action existence. If I wanted to have that second (or third) piece of pumpkin pie - I did. If I felt the need for a cat nap, I made the executive decision and WALLA, I napped!

Even in those family situations where process was polite, not to mention democratic, we discussed, we lobbied, we decided, and we lived the action life! This, mind you, with an infant, a ten year old and an eight year old as committee members. I don’t know why it seems as though decision making these days, only gets harder and harder. I really think that there are those of us who are physically effected by the false comfort of the nowhere committee - while others depend upon it for their very survival in the corporate picture.

Remain invisible. Plan and re-check the plan. Partner, collaborate, and NEVER DO ANYTHING! - except maybe decide on when to meet again - to talk some more and further develop the plan - this is a safety zone, a process life, that I can live without. In this new economy and “brand you” world, I would much rather piss some people off because of my strong beliefs, live for my clients, and love bright colors, than fear that I may rock the boat, take pride in “just doing my job”, or believe that grey is beautiful.

For me action is passion and passion is sanity. I think we (leaders), are embarking on a new era and invisibility no longer rules the day.....hey, I think I may stop in Oregon again next holiday season and add a few new lines to that etching... “Its better to ask forgiveness than permission...always!”

(Inspired by Tom Peters -

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