“Ideas are free, execution is priceless.”
That’s my mantra.
It HAS to be. After all, how else would someone make a career out of wearing a nametag 24-7?
SO, HERE’S THE SECRET: Executing is eloquence. Period.
Today I’m going to teach you how to do it. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, small business owner, creative professional or cubicle dwelling worker bee, consider these seven essentials for executing exquisitely:
1. Think on paper immediately. Writing is the great clarifier. Writing also makes everything you do easier and better. Unfortunately, too many ideas never make it past their initial stages because most entrepreneurs’ disorganized thinking blocks new possibilities from surfacing.
Here’s my suggestion: As soon you get a new idea for a project or business venture, spend an hour writing out the following lists:
a. Every Thought I’m Having about This Idea
b. Every Question I Have about This Idea
c. People I Should Talk to about This Idea
d. Immediate Action Items to Take on this Idea
The secret of thinking on paper is to just puke, non-stop, with no editing and no opinions. Brainstorming needs to be objective in order to prevent premature cognitive commitment, aka, falling in love with your idea too soon. Use flip charts, dry erase boards, note cards, bulleted lists, whatever it takes. Just do it soon. Because if you don’t write it down; it never happened. How will you out-write the competition
2. Be impatient. Just go. Just DO stuff. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t wait until you’re ready. Don’t wait until you’re old or smart enough. If you wait, you might spend all your waiting time talking your idea to death. And when the time comes to move, there will be no momentum left to execute.
Being impatient is about the willingness to look bad on the road to immortality. The courage to plunge forward planless. And the vulnerability to be an imperfectionist. So: Stop waiting to be paid for something you love and go DO something. Life’s too short. How much money, success and happiness is being (too) patient costing you?
3. Hack the rules. Hacking isn’t cheating. Huge distinction. In the phenomenon book, Trust Agents, authors Brogan and Smith explain the difference:
“Hacking is about finding alternatives for the traditional uses of a system. It’s about modifying the conditions of the system you’re in. It’s about using a system in a different way than it was designed. And it’s about figuring out your strength and applying it to the system of your choice so you position yourself as number one person playing the game in that system.”
Therefore, in the game of life, you have a few options:
a. Change the rules so you can win at your OWN game
b. Change the game so there ARE no rules
c. Play the game but become the exception TO every rule.
The question to ask when faced with one of these “rules” is, “Can this rule be ignored, modified or changed?” By doing so, you give yourself permission to refuse to accept your current circumstances. This opens the floodgates to diligent work on creating a new set of circumstances. Remember: Learn the rules, learn which of the rules are irrelevant, and then hack the shit out of them. What could I do in this moment that would be the exact opposite of everyone?
4. Keep asking, “What’s the next action?” In the classic time management system, Getting Things Done, David Allen explains that this single question is the secret to de-cluttering your mind and enabling stress-free productivity. (I agree.) And if I had to make a list of companion questions to go along with David’s, they would include the following:
a. Is what you’re doing RIGHT NOW consistent with your #1 goal?
b. What consumes your time but isn’t making you ANY money?
c. What are you doing that makes NO sense at all?
My suggestion: Write these four questions on sticky notes, post them in visible locations and look at them hourly. You’ll quickly discover that exquisite execution is the natural byproduct of skyrocketed productivity. How many ideas did you fail to execute because your time was managing YOU?
5. Don’t be stopped by not knowing how. HOW is overrated. HOW is a dream destroyer. HOW is the enemy of progress. HOW is the hallmark of hopelessness. Basic to all exquisite execution is: (1) Know-WHY and (2) Know-WHAT. Your mission is to learn the minimum amount you need to know for now, just to get started.
Trust your resources and believe that the requisite competence will come in time. Either by trial and error, by Google, or by asking smart people smart questions. How much execution have you squandered because you’re at war with HOW when you should be in love with WHY?
6. Fail like you mean it. Flawless execution doesn’t exist. Exquisite, yes; flawless, no. So, here’s the secret: Make mistakes, make them early, make them quick and make them quietly. Then write down what you learned. They go teach someone what you learned. And then keep moving. Period. Amen. Q.E.D.
Without approaching failure this way, you’ll get swept away in the undertow of personal drama. Which accomplishes nothing but granting your emotions an all day pass for disturbing your ability to execute. So remember: Failure IS an option – not learning from that failure isn’t. When was the last time you screwed up royally, and what did you learn from that?
7. Consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness. Every day. That’s the two-word secret to executing ANYTHING. And it shouldn’t even have to be a secret, but I guess not everyone has grasped this concept yet. For example, when I talk to fellow authors, they’re always “working on their next book.” But when I ask them the only question that matters – “What did you write TODAY?” – they fumble to give me an answer.
Which means they’re not consistent.
Which means they’re not executing.
Which means they ARE going to be buried with their book still inside them.
On the other hand, when I talk to writers who discipline themselves to stick to their writing schedule – every day – the conversation changes. People actually carry out their ideas. People actually write amazing books. And they also tend to be cooler people to talk to.
So, not only is consistency the engine of exquisite execution; it’s also the conduit of character. Remember: There is no royal road to greatness except by constantly plugging. Every day. What action have you taken on your idea, TODAY?
REMEMBER: Execution is eloquence.
And in the business world, there are talkers and there are doers.
I wonder which one YOU are.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you executing exquisitely?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “45 Recession-Friendly Strategies for Entreprenerial Evolution,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.
Watch The Nametag Guy in action here!
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
“Ideas are free, execution is priceless.”