No Shortage of Ideas; Just Movement

Ever have a brainstorming session and get a lot of ideas? How about ask a co-worker their ideas on a topic? Go to a staff meeting and a question is tossed out – plenty of ideas or comments come in? To me, we all have plenty of ideas, thoughts, comments or opinions on a topic or problem. What seems to get into the way of moving forward? Ourselves? Company? The “boss”? How many times have you talked about a topic, felt like there was one or more ideas that could have worked, but did not go anywhere? To me, I think we have plenty of ideas but lack in the way of getting them to move forward.

Getting stuck on an idea is natural. It happens plenty of times both individually and organizationally. Why is that? I read someone both on this topic (and many more) that it really is a thinking problem; self inflicted. We think either too much or not enough.. You pick.. How do we move forward? How about we rethink how we think? Sounds funny, but really it is as simple as rethinking the usual suspects. Below I will list the ones that I have encountered…

  • Scope…Insure that you have defined the problem well. Nothing worse than starting off with a problem statement that is over-defined or under-defined. You may have some ideas that just don’t fix the real problem or issue. Tighten that part up, every time.
  • Complexity… I can not tell you how many times I believe that we have over-analzyed the situation or created issues where there were none or forgot our purpose. Time to keep the issues uncluttered and simple as possible. From time to time, have someone not close tho the issue look at it for you. Those different set of eyes could be very helpful. If there is no one, then ask yourself, “Am I making this bigger than it really is?” or “What am I afraid of?”
  • Ego… As the old saying goes, “Check your ego at the door.” We really love what we have done and it gets in the way of doing stuff differently. NIH (Not Invented Here). Too many times we are reworking the old and trying to convince ourselves it is the right thing to do. Still stuck and nothing is flowing.
  • Failure… Fear of failure is a dangerous way to step out. That fear will cause you to do nothing. A long time ago, I had a senior manager that used a phrase, “There is Success in Failure.” At first, I thought he was nuts. After thinking about it, he made it clear that in every failure – there is some success. The success may come later – when you apply doing something differently. He said to keep failure in perspective. Is there a perfect person among us? I think not, failure happens – we are not perfect.
  • Success… Definitely what true success looks like needs to happen at the beginning. What is it exactly want to end with. Helps to know when you have finally arrived. More importantly, it helps when you have clear expectations. It is that first step in moving forward. Set clear expectations.. Saves lots of time and effort in the beginning.

I believe that everyone can sit back and think of anything that they have worked on that went slowly or no where.. Think of why it was that way… Is there anything that fits in the buckets above? Is there something missing?