Planning has value where new ideas are concerned. But planning only has value to a point. When over-analysis becomes an excuse for lack of courage or initiative to implement an idea, it will eventually kill great ideas and worthwhile endeavors. If this becomes a regular practice, you and your organization will have difficulty succeeding.
If you can see that an idea will improve you, your people, or your organization, it’s worth your time to implement as soon as possible. If you spend more time thinking or talking about a great idea than taking steps to see it put into action, you may suffer from analysis paralysis. The following five steps will help ensure that great ideas won’t die on the vine.
WRITE IT DOWN.
Stephen Douglas said, “Most ideas are lost if they’re not written down within ten seconds.” As with any important task, when you take the time to write it down, you decrease the possibility of forgetting it. Make sure that you describe the idea well enough to capture it’s essence, so when it’s time to move forward, you don’t need to re-invent it. Remember, “The faintest ink is better than the best memory.”
Having competent colleagues to confirm the value of an idea often provides the added incentive that’s needed to move forward. Encouragement is one of the most powerful motivators of action. And in the process of sharing an idea you may discover one better than the original.
SET A DEADLINE AND STICK TO IT.
Woody Allen once quipped that 80 percent of success is showing up. Once you’ve determined that an idea is valuable, set a deadline to implement it. This will encourage action and provides accountability within the organization.
LET GO OF YOUR PRECONCEPTIONS.
Samuel Johnson said, “Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.” Don’t wait until everything is “perfect” to begin implementing a great idea. That time will never come and you’ll be stuck waiting forever. Instead, throw out those preconceived notions of what can or cannot be done, take a risk and determine to set a new precedent in your actions.
JUST DO IT.
It’s often much easier to act your way into thinking than to think you way into acting. The more time you spend acting on great ideas, the sooner you’ll increase your organization’s potential for success. Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings. Maurice Chevalier noted, “If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured it may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed, races won or lasting happiness achieved.”
Great ideas have a short shelf life. You have to act on them before the expiration date. Benjamin Franklin said, “To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.” Make a commitment today to begin jumping at great ideas, rather than analyzing them to death, because the greatest brainstorm in the world is worthless if you can’t find a way to harness it.
Now, with that said, let me give you one final point to think about; when in doubt, don’t. If something in your gut tells you the time or circumstances are not right then don’t make decision to move forward. Don’t just make a decision because you feel you need to. I know this seems quite the opposite of the instruction given above, but even the right decision made at the wrong time is a mistake.
Make good decisions every day and at the end of your life you will have a lifetime of good decisions made.
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