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Increase impact in five simple steps

Make your ideas a reality today

“EXECUTION: Do it now!” —

Entrepreneurs have so many messages thrown at them constantly, mostly around how to get things done, how to get things moving, how to succeed — “Do it now” — “Done is better than perfect” — “80% is good enough” — “Get it out there and then perfect it” — we often struggle between the paradox of if we need to just get it done or if we should consider quality and get it done well.

I have personally struggled with the idea of putting out poor content, even when writing. But as with writing, I have learned that just doing it is better than thinking about doing it and definitely more important than waiting to perfect it. It’s the only way to collect feedback and improve. This can be applied to innovation in corporations too.

“He who hesitates is lost.” — Joseph Addison

Have you ever thought “wow I had that idea!” and then envy the person that executed the idea, started the project, changed the process, launched an app, or any other idea you had thought of first? What was the difference between them and you? Were they more talented? Did they have more information? Did they have more resources?

No. The difference is…they actually did it.

Change of perspective is needed

A news topic that garnered a lot of attention and controversy in Canada in the early 90’s was spurred by the act of the Canadian government buying a piece of art, aptly called “Voice of Fire”. The purchase of this piece of art had Canada up in arms. Which is very unusual for Canadians!

“Voice of Fire” — Barnett Newman

The Voice of Fire was three lines, as pictured. 18 feet tall, it was bought for $1.8MM, which sounded like a lot more money in 1990. So what was the biggest issue for people? What caused the most controversy?

Well, that they spent all that money…and anyone — even a child — could have painted it. It caused so much outrage that there is even a book written about the reactions, called “Voices of Fire: Art Rage, Power, and the State” by Bruce Barber.

At that time, we discussed the event in my English Literature class, with my very progressive teacher, Mr Syme, who always challenged our thinking — I loved that about him! What he said was the following: “You may have been able to do it, a child may have been able to do it, but did you think to do it? Did you actually do it? Until I have stood in front of the art itself, I will reserve my judgement on it’s worth, but never let me hear you say I could have done it. That’s not the point.

The point is — did you think to do AND did you actually do it.

Take action before someone else does

We all have many ideas. We all have ideas that we think can change the world. But we don’t own ideas and unless we act on them they are irrelevant. Many organisations operate in the same manner. Siemens took many inventions and perfected them and launched them under their brand. Were they the company’s original ideas? No, but they built on the ideas and inventions, they made them work, and then successfully sold them.

My colleague Steven Mc Auley is the embodiment of the “Do it now!” philosophy and he is convinced that some form of action when you have an idea is crucial to success. When the first YouTube stars started earning a lot of money with their videos and ads, Steven wanted to be one of them so he and his friend actually discussed the idea in detail and even created an action plan. They would meet every week and record their videos. Then they both went home and what happened?

Nothing. The imperative was lost.

By only discussing it and planning it, but not doing it, they lost the energy and focus to do it. If they had shot their first video that very day, that very moment then they may have continued, but they pushed that crucial first step to a time in the future, this allowed their passion, creativity, and energy to dissipate.

This is a deathblow to innovation. Innovations thrive on speed, testing, and feedback. Most people generally hesitate before they act or react. If an innovator wants to act and interact with the current environment then behaviour must also change.

Five simple tips to make your ideas a reality

  1. Harness the excitement and energy for the idea and develop it in that moment

  2. Take one step and do something to move that idea forward right in that moment

  3. Remind yourself to take action on ideas, put a note above your desk so you are always in that moment

  4. When colleagues try to set up a time later to discuss something with you, move away from your computer screen and discuss it in that moment

  5. Cross it off the future “to do” list, because you did it in that moment!

Do you see the pattern here? Harness the energy and make one small step to move your idea forward, this will encourage you to come back to it, develop it, and discuss it, and this is innovation. By creating something tangible in that moment you will be encouraged to continue and to build upon it.

So next time you are sitting on a virtual call or sitting in a meeting when an idea comes up, in that moment, ask “How can this work?” If the thought is, “we’ll take care of that later”, then it is your imperative to say, “No — let’s do it now.”

And you will.

. . .

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