chapter  1
8 Pages

Why not “JUST DO IT”? The Image-Action Connection

Introduction In the early 1990s when the lead author started teaching on executive programmes, he was introduced to what he thought was a new management approach called JDI. “We don’t have time to think” said one delegate in an MBA class, “We use an approach called JDI”. Curious to know what this was, the author naively replied, “That’s interesting, I’ve not come across that before, what is JDI?” Of course, once the delegate said what the letters stood for, the author then realized it was not a new approach and the class were highly amused! But the MBA delegate also said that from his experience this was the approach to projects within his organization and it was very ineffective in his view. Moreover, many of the other delegates agreed and said JDI was the dominant approach in their organizations too. So, what is wrong with JDI as an approach to projects? Apart from some obvious practical reasons, the approach is misguided in two respects: firstly, thinking and doing are not two separate domains, as it suggests, and it also fails to recognize something fundamental about all projects. Whilst all projects are clearly about action and working to timescales and so on, such action is always based on an image of what needs to be done, and it is this image-action connection that has very important implications, as this chapter shows using the following real example.