There is a classic tension in both individuals and organizations between three primary activities:
(They are generally placed in this order, because thinking is the most subtle, acting the most obvious, and talking in between.)
Within an organization, there are generally people or roles that specialize in particular activities. This is another way in which organizations mirror individuals.
Arguing a lot about which one to do or not do is common. Sometimes it’s inevitable, but generally you want to avoid it.
I feel that it’s best, in general, to focus on action, since that’s what I find lacking the most, both in myself, others, and societies as a whole. Action is tied to enthusiasm, which is an energy we use to get moving.
A critical thing, I have found, is to be sensitive to transitions.
There seems to be an agency in the brain, that can say, “It’s time to stop thinking, and start acting.” Or, “It’s time to stop acting, and time to start thinking.” Or, “It’s time to stop thinking, and start talking.” Or whatever it is, however which way you want to put it.
I don’t suggest that there is one correct way. There are people who specialize in particular things. The choice of specialization seems to drive a complete change in the way you transition, and what not. I think that only a person who was a complete master of the Universe and could see all of past and future- that only such a person could say what was the “correct” way to focus ourselves. Regardless.
There seems to be, within individuals, various signs that let us now, “Oh, it’s time to shut up, and start acting.” There are feelings that we can become sensitive to.
If we’re talking, and things are getting progressively more abstract, it’s probably a sign that it’s time to act. If we’re acting, and it seems like we keep working, but we’re not going anywhere, like we’re on a treadmill, that means it’s probably time to start thinking. If we’re thinking and we’re getting stuck, then it’s probably time to start talking.
The most important factor appears to me to be enthusiasm, a name for that abstract energy that gets things rolling.
Wikipedia:Napoleon_Hill gives us some classic techniques to get from Think to Act really quick.
As groups, enthusiasm plays a crucial role. If a group of people, especially volunteer people, can’t get excited about what they’re doing, then it’s probably not going to go far.
These are concepts and ideas that require (and receive) constant repetition. It’s extremely easy to forget proportion.
The ideas reappear in our stories, they reappear in our conversations, they reappear in our minds, they reappear everywhere.
We are constantly rediscovering and reminding ourselves of proportion in thought, communication, and action.
Our minds tend to focus on one thing while working on something. It’s the repetition of the repetition that helps us remember what we are doing, and go back on track.
Perhaps this particular concept of the repetition has a place in the HiveMind theory, finding a place in the SharedAwarenessSystem. I believe that if psychologists studied blogs, they would find something powerful about the repetitive power and of online blogs and RSS feeds.
It would seem that “Think” and “Talk” clearly mean something online, but that “Act” does not.
But it does.
“Act” online means to sustain concentration. When we write a program, we have to sustain concentration. We start a WeldingProcess, have to set aside a welding space, and start going through the steps, fusing API’s and documentation together with the schematic of how our software is going to work, piecing it together under a language, and then linking the machine blueprints together with our machine’s resources at execution. To put together our blueprints is an act of sustained concentration.
(This fits into “Commitment” in the HiveMind theory.)
I don’t know if this really fits here, but one of the reasons I like wiki is that it’s a place where you can work - unlike forums or mailing lists which are mainly about talking (though being a moderator is “work” too, it isn’t in the general culture). In my mind, that makes wiki communities closer to real-world communities. Although you can just blab away (like I am right now ^^), there are also a lot of opportunities of really contributing to the community - gnome cleanup, refactoring, translating, etc. (Maybe this should be on DiscussionBoardVsWiki. This idea probably exists somewhere else.)