As I went about the normal get-ready routine this morning, it hit me. An astounding idea.
Do you have those moments? In the middle of the mundane, a great idea arrives. It comes out of nowhere. Or, perhaps it is is generated out of some need you faced the week before or you know you will encounter in the hours ahead. No matter how or why… it is here. So now what?
First, find the discipline to work on it. The path of least resistance is to find the small piece of the great idea to implement and walk away feeling satisfied. But we never do. Deep inside, we know there was more that could be done with it. A key is to set a path of taking small bits and making them into large chunks and finally into the whole project/book/plan/strategy. So, even if you start small, just start.
Second, ignore all the detractors. You likely had the idea because it is a response or a preparation to a real-world problem. The cynics in your life have either never faced the same issue, used a different solution that worked for them, or the issue got the best of them. No matter. A path has been illuminated for you so start walking. Even if the detractor is yourself, ignore it. Don’t let fear and doubt distract you from a potentially great idea.
Third, get ready to improvise. The first idea I had this morning was a great one. By the time I was through breakfast, it was already beginning to morph. By the time my commute was done, it was taking a new shape but answering the same question. Improvisation is a gift to us. Even those of us who like structure and loathe the unexpected.
Finally, get it out of your head and build accountability. As long as the idea swirls only in your head, then you will ruminate on it too long. Ultimately, it will be forgotten. The problem will pass, someone else will solve it, the normal processes in place will wrangle it and a great idea will have never been surfaced. Put your idea on a marker board. Tell another person about it and ask them to inquire about it in a week. During lunch, carve out an outline about the idea and put it on your calendar to work on it again in a few days. Make sure that this great idea has a chance to live.
My idea started as “A – Z Leadership.” It is a book proposal that was beginning to sound too much like a 200-page cliche’ on leadership. Now, it is turning into a real-life leadership project. (Title being withheld because I like it too much.) I’m looking around and see how I need to document what happens at work so that leadership ideals can be illustrated for what they are: ideals. I want to get real about how leadership works and how we can all work in leadership.
So… who will go next? What is the great idea that you’ve got but have not told anyone yet?