Action Cycle

How do you achieve 'beyond realistic' objectives with people you don’t know well within ludicrously short periods of time?

0. Invite

You are invited to attend an Action Cycle. Ideally in a company because it links into a traditional structure which needs to see results. Action Cycles can be conducted in networks, community groups, etc.


Rules are printed on three business cards.

  1. Green Card

The main question to answer is “What can we (the people in this room now) achieve (just beyond realistic into idealistic) within the week (given our collective resources)?” which can be measured by the following three thresholds, or wows: consensus, commitment (which must be achieved within an hour), and completion (achieved in following week).

2. Yellow Card

Everyone agrees to playing the game by accepting to uphold the rules of the game: if anyone in the group perceives a rule to be broken, they hold up the yellow card and the entire group must stop what they are doing introducing a period of 30 seconds silence in which everyone considers their role in what is happening

3. Red Card

Once the hour is up, if the players have not acheived two of the three wows, they should call it a day. Success is measured by how far in the wow-sequence the group gets, with the minimal being an interesting discussion for an hour, and the maximal being the third wow achievement. Should this last wow occur, there may be consequential moneyflow. 

4. Repeat

Ideally, the group will not reconstitute itself. The objective is to improve collaboration between individuals across different organisations. Longer term projects, seeing a result in a month or a year, requires longer than an hour to achieve consensus and commitment; we call these Direct Cycles.

You've got to experience it to believe it.

High Trust

Open Business works on trust, and the Action Cycle is no exception. Conceiving a 'non-realistic' objective in an hour is doable (14/15). Groups can get a little excited and jump to commitment, and only after a week it becomes clear that some players haven't even attempted to fulfil their pledge. It pays (!) to ensure that hand-on-heart commitment is made during the AC. Word & action must be aligned.


The Sqale app allows people to add evaluations to an Action Cycle event, as well as thank people over the week that the action is being executed by distributed members. Such values may help hosts decide on who to invite to their AC.

Horizontal Players

Horizontal players are people who are social capable, practiced in metacognition and social learning, and are often facilitators or coaches. To be clear, they are not facilitating, but active members; they have skin in the game like everyone else. But rather than facilitating, or observing, they are demonstrating the skills they often use to help others, to help the group itself -- within the hour, as well as provide tools and support over the following week.


Action Cycles are invited using the Sqale platform which may be set to a specific amount, a range, or any amount according to each member and who they invite. The initial outlay of moneyflow is constituted by the players, or the originator, though it might fall upon the vertical players (ie hosting company).


The third wow may result in moneyflow directly, eg support for a video produced during the week, as distributed through Sqale platform. Moneyflow should be distributed to all participants equally, or according to the SQ balance within the group as enabled by Sqale platform. Players evaluate the contribution of the other players during the hour, and subsequently deriving a unique SQ for each player. Evaluations of the hour itself may be tracked using the Sqale platform.


With nested projects, SQ may be tracked across different action cycles deriving player rating which may be useful for guiding player invitations.

20 mins

As a rule of thumb, the first twenty minutes should be players talking about pain points and possible opportunities. The second twenty minutes is synthesising and helping a potential goal emerge. The third twenty minutes on hammering out commitment. In the real world, it is more like 35 mins, then 20 mins, and then 5 mins -- but making snap commitment is not ideal for the outcome of a week's activity, nor the longevity of AC's.

Beyond Realistic

The objective should not be completely unrealistic. Ideally it is unrealistic relative to each individual: left to their own devices, with the resources available to them with their network or company, it is not possible. And yet, each knows that they could do their bit. The 'unrealistic' part is trusting others to do things and/or have access to resources, which each individual does not have access to. Thus, when it is achieved, it is because of the social validation of having trust, that any small group of people do have the collective resources to achieve 'unrealistic' objectives if they can align and work together.

Inspirational Feeling

How do you know if you achieve the first WOW -- consensus on a 'non-realistic' objective? Because just before it, there's a state change in the quality of listening in the room. There's enough content being shared, a new things emerges and because it is new, everyone responds to it. It is genuinely inspiring, to witness an emergent idea which is beyond realistic for every individual relative to themselves, and yet a sense that it is feasible because each individual can confirm the bit they can do. There is a growing sense that it is possible if everyone actually plays their part; which is the second phase and achieving the second WOW of commitment.

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