Each of us has great ideas. They show up all the time. Sometimes in the shower, sometimes while on vacation, sometimes while sitting in traffic, and sometimes while brainstorming with a group of colleagues. While great ideas are great, doing something with them is even better. The truly successful and happy among us happen to be those that take the great ideas they’ve generated, and put them into motion. They take action, not just talk about their stroke of genius.
For leaders, action is one of the most important traits they can embody. Taking action means getting things done. It means seizing the initiative. It conveys momentum, and energy, and creating something new, something that didn’t exist before. And this excites followers and others who understand that going towards something is always better than sitting around staring at the wall.
Developing a sound system for dealing with great ideas is necessary for leaders. This is especially important if you happen to have an active, creative mind that churns-out ideas constantly. Without a system/process in place to capture the good ideas and then a method through which to deal with them, hundreds of possibilities can be lost. The opportunity cost of your great ideas is impossible to measure. In these ideas are the seeds of your success in every aspect of your life. And that’s pretty valuable.
Taking your great ideas from words to action is the true test of your leadership. Most anyone can follow paths set down by those before them. To forge a new path takes great ideas and action. To get there:
Have a system for capturing good ideas. The best way I’ve found to do this is with a pen and journal. I’ve not gone anywhere in the past 5 years without one. In the nearly 2,500 pages I’ve filled are countless ideas, concepts, thoughts, and observations. Some of the ideas are great, others not so much. However, they’re all written-down and I don’t have to try and remember them. Regardless of how great your memory is, don’t believe you can keep your ideas available for access when/where you need them. Put them in writing.
Do, Delegate, or Delete. There are hundreds of ideas in my notes. However, every one of them passed my 3-D filter. I either immediately implemented the idea (Do), enlisted others to implement my idea (Delegate), or determined the idea wasn’t a good one (Delete). A filtering process allows you to quickly determine if your idea is worth action and saves you from waffling.
In the end, taking action is simple. You do or you don’t. The hard part comes when we introduce doubt, fear, concern about what others will say (or not say) and the outcome being failure. If you have a great idea, why not take action? What will happen if you fail? You’ll learn from the failure and perhaps, have even more great ideas. You’ll also be taking action and not just merely talking about it.
“Words may show a man’s wit but actions his meaning.” Benjamin Franklin