Marry Poppins was an entrepreneur.
She summarized business execution in six simple words:
“Enough is as good as a feast.”
What about you? How skilled are you at executing?
Let’s explore a list of strategies to help you make ideas happen at an alarming rate:
1. Convert your workspace into a progress-rich environment. It’s emotionally invigorating to surround yourself with evidence of your achievements. What’s more, keeping past progress in front of your nose stimulates focus – even if it’s incremental.
As I learned in Making Ideas Happen, “As a human being, you are motivated by progress. When you see concrete evidence of progress, you are more inclined to take further action. Surround yourself with it. Celebrate it.” What’s on your wall?
2. Take massive, rapid and consistent action. That’s how momentum accumulates. Just like Newton said: A body in motion stays in motion. My suggestion is to shoot for five High Valuable Action Steps. Every day.
Even if you take an occasional step backwards – at least you’re still stepping. Movement (backwards or forwards) is necessary to prevent atrophy. Some people just stand there. They’re called nouns. Verbs, on the other hand, move. Which one are you?
3. Increase executional velocity. As a writer, my biggest advantage is that nobody can keep up with me. I am dangerously prolific. Nobody who does what I do can do what I do as fast as I can do it. And, nobody who does what I do can do what I do in the quantity that I can do it.
Lesson learned: Making ideas happen is less about intellectual property and more about executional velocity. Contrary to what your lawyer tells you, there’s very little you need to protect. If somebody wants to steal your ideas, fantastic! Let them.
First of all, that’s a great compliment. Robbery is the sincerest form of flattery. Secondly, by the time they execute your idea – which they probably won’t – you’ll already be ten ideas down the road. Screw ‘em.
Lastly, if people want to hijack your brain, tell them to go right ahead. Just remind them: “You can steal my ideas – but good luck stealing my initiative and execution.” William Wallace never thought of that. Remember: The creations of innovative persisters will always dwarf the accomplishments of the copying and surrendering masses. Who’s faster than you?
4. Structureless environments paralyze. Not that you need to regiment every element of your creative process. But structure allows growth. And the impact of an idea is directly proportionate to how well it is organized.
My suggestion: Preserve the sanctity of your workspace. Not an office – a workspace. Call it an office and slice your creativity in half. Call it a workspace – a factory of creativity – and you make ideas happen. Is your content as brilliant as the system that manages it?
5. It’s not what you do – it’s what you avoid. People frequently ask me how I manage to be so productive. My answer is very logical and simple:
No meetings. No employees. No interns. No busywork. No filing. No copying. No excuses. No hurdles. No bullshit. No asking permission. No begging for forgiveness. No memos. No status reports. No kids. No television. No surfing the web. No mass media. No coworkers. No putting out fires. No gossip. No worrying. No headaches. No managing people.
No walking on eggshells. No task requests. No micromanaging. No useless planning of things that don’t matter. No processes to weigh me down and diminish my energy. No waiting for people. No endless list of people trying to reach me. No distractions. No decision-making hierarchy. No distance between the owner and decisions that matter. No awkward staff lunches. No committees. No socializing. No compromising.
No doing activities that aren’t focused on my #1 goals. No doing activities that don’t leverage my gifts. No doing activities that aren’t income generating. No office politics. No office. No clothes. No shoes. No commute. No traffic. No interruptions. No paperwork.
After deleting all of that noise, what are you left with? Work. That matters. Think about it. If that were your daily environment, you’d make ideas happen at an alarming rate too. Remember: Productivity isn’t about what you do – it’s about what you avoid. How many of your amazing ideas will never see the light of day because they’re gasping for air under the weight of irrelevant time-wasters?
6. Align your action with accomplishment. Bob Parsons, CEO of www.godaddy.com, recently published a helpful productivity module on his video blog. In order to keep productivity at bay, he suggests asking two questions: Is this conversation directly leading to what I need to accomplish? Is this immediately relevant to my success?
If the answer is no, respectfully remove yourself. Focus on finding what matters instead. What questions do you ask yourself to stay on point?
7. Commission you inner doodler. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey said in a recent presentation, “Start drawing your idea. Get it out of your head and see it from a completely different perspective.” Even if you suck at drawing. Even if you’re more left-brained than a computer science professor at MIT. Draw it anyway.
Tap into the unused creative faculties collecting cobwebs in the back of your brain. Produce visual understanding by letting the idea hatch before your eyes. My promise is that you’ll get so jazzed about the organic growth of your idea, that the thought of (not) executing it will give you indigestion. What have you drawn today?
8. Attitude is soil. And if it’s saturated with too much fertilizer, anything that grows in it – not matter how big and beautiful and profitable it may be – will always have a stinkshit core. I'm reminded what Seth Godin wrote in a recent blog post:
“No one ever succeeded because of execution tactics learned from a Dummies book. If your attitude at the top of the hierarchy is messed up, no amount of brilliant tactics or execution is going to help you at all.”
Lesson learned: Exquisite execution doesn’t last when underscored by an excremental attitude. When you make ideas happen, how does your breath smell?
REMEMBER: Many of your execution failures are not due to poor planning but to your timidity to proceed.
Mary Poppins was right.
Enough is good enough.
Go make your ideas happen.
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.
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Friday, May 21, 2010
Marry Poppins was an entrepreneur.