I'm in an interesting position as a sole proprietor. I could choose to do nothing all day when I'm not working on a project for a client and live like a rich person. Except I'm not rich so that wouldn't last very long.

Creative Commons License Jon Rawlinson via Compfight

This means that the only way I make money is by doing something to try to bring income into the household. Basically I can do that in two ways, but really it comes down to one way. I can create something or I can market, but even if I create something I still have to market, thus the one thing.

That takes action, aka "doing". I can't rely on anyone else to do it for me unless I pay them, and even the act of paying someone to do it for me requires some effort from me. I have to create the script, teach them something about what I do and hope they understand it, respond to whatever leads they find and, of course, then talk to any potential clients.

I've found that there are many managers who don't really "do" anything. I'm not saying they're not putting their charts together to report progress or interacting with an employee here and there but in the overall scope of things they're not doing anything.

What should they be doing? I'm of the mind that good managers are also good leaders, and good leaders don't sit around resting on their laurels or allowing the status quo to be all they aim for. Thus, managers should always be striving for something better, not only for their departments but for themselves.

If I may, I'd like to use part of my background as an example of this.

When last I was a full time director, I took the job when the department was in disarray; it was actually two departments. Obviously my first goal was to get things moving in the right direction, get some training in, establish some processes, create some new leaders in the department and get buy-in from all the employees.

I accomplished that and then decided it was time for the next step, which meant increasing our goals, coming up with new systems to monitor performance and setting up performance rewards as well as monetary bonuses for staff, which helped solidify a cohesive department.

I could have stopped there, as our performance grew. Instead, I decided it was time to bring other departments into the fray, since how they performed impacted the overall organization, and if I could help make them more efficient and profitable all of us would benefit. Thus, I reviewed their revenue and statistics and met with both directors and people who were tasked with certain duties. Revenue grew, cash grew, and things were working out pretty well.

After we merged with another organization the things I'd put into place carried over into both organizations, and I had lots of help getting things equal. And yet that wasn't the end of it all. I knew there was another piece left, and even though I didn't want the job at the time, I became the compliance officer for both organizations because it was a job that needed to be done. I also brought in lots of other people because this needed to be a team thing.

Across the board, none of us ever rested on our laurels. When we had a success we took a moment to celebrate, brought in others who had a part in those particular successes, and then we went after the next thing. We did this because we knew that sitting around waiting for things to happen never worked for anyone. Sure, sometimes we found things we'd rather not have found, but it was necessary so we could address them and move forward.

I don't say any of these things to make myself look good. I use them as an example of what "doing" is all about. Without my doing all those things, I'd have never been able to go out on my own to do what I do now. I don't like to use the word "failure" to describe when things go wrong; I believe in the term "expermentation", because without that nothing progresses and no one or nothing ever gets better. Without risks, without doing something, you never know how much better something, including life, can be.

Are you as a leader or a person doing something, anything positive? Are you taking calculated risks and chances?