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Steve Marr Blog

Steve Marr's contributions

Jun 07
2006

Making Ideas Happen

Posted by: Steve Marr

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Every leader creates ideas, and many of those ideas have the potential the pay great dividends. The key is to move beyond the idea stage and create action that turns those ideas into reality. "There are many . . . empty talkers," wrote the apostle Paul (Titus 1:10, NASB), and in business today, we all know people who talk a good game but never get the job done. But you don't have to be one of those people. By following several simple steps, you can learn how to turn good ideas into effective action.

 

First, develop a clear understanding of your idea and write it down. This may seem like a waste of time, but in order to take action you must be able to articulate your idea and what you want to accomplish in one or two sentences. For example, Randy, the owner of an electrical contracting business with fifteen service trucks on the road, had thought about the possibility of using a global positioning system (GPS) to keep track of the location of each truck- but he had never taken the time to write his idea down for subsequent action. Consequently, he never got around to implementing his idea, he still struggled to keep track of his trucks, and his business suffered a loss of efficiency. When he finally wrote down his idea-Obtain a reasonably priced GPS that will allow me to know the location of each vehicle-his solution began to take shape.


"Record the vision and inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run," the Lord advised the prophet Habakkuk (Habakkuk 2:2, NASB). Writing down your ideas leads to clarity of thinking, which is the first step of every effective action plan.


Second, develop a plan for how to put your idea into practice-but keep it simple. King Solomon wrote, "Don't lose sight of good planning and insight. Hang on to them, for they fill you with life and bring you honor and respect" (Proverbs 3:21-2, NLT). Many ideas can be turned into action simply by writing down the steps and creating a schedule on a single sheet of paper. Just determine each step, who will do it, and by when. When Randy decided to implement his GPS idea, he wrote a simple three-step process that he would take care of himself: (1) Review GPS companies over the next four weeks. (2) Select a vendor and negotiate an agreement in the following two weeks. (3) Hire an electronics person to install the devices and train everyone on how to use the system.


Third, understand your priorities and keep them in mind to avoid becoming sidetracked and wasting time and energy. The simpler the plan, the more likely it is to get done. Just make sure that each step has a purpose to support your goal. Randy found a GPS that could measure each vehicle's average speed and time on the road. Though he knew that such information would be important for an over-the-road trucking company, it was of little value for the short-run trips that his company made.


Fourth, track your accomplishments against the plan. You might write a great plan, but if the results never happen, you haven't gained anything. Jeremiah wrote, "Set up for yourselves road marks" (Jeremiah 31:21, NASB). Periodically, go back to your plan and review the steps (who needed to do what by when) to see if everything was accomplished. If not, clarify what went wrong, and why. Then take steps to get back on track.


Finally, develop a bias for action. King Solomon wrote, "The lazy person is full of excuses" (Proverbs 22:13, NLT). Excuses are easy to find, but they're no substitute for action. Solomon also wrote, "If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done" (Ecclesiastes 11:4, NLT). Randy's decision to take action was the key step in turning his good idea into tangible results. Don't fall prey to "analysis paralysis," the disease of never getting beyond the research phase and into concrete action. Regardless of the size of your idea, write it down, develop a simple plan in keeping with your priorities, take action, and follow through.

Steve Marr, Your Christian Business Coach

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