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Getting Your Ideas Off the Ground

A recent Harvard Business Review online article covered the “Five Powers that Get Ideas off the Ground.” This is an area that I find a lot of people, including myself, struggle with at times. Quite often an idea is vague or is complicated by a great deal of unknowns. As humans, we like to work off of certainties so that we know what direction we’re going. At work I try to get people moving by baking in step of “figure out where we’re going” into project plans. This gives the opportunity to further flesh out plan details while you go, while signalling to others reading the WBS that turn-by-turn directions will be spelled out once detailed planning is complete.

Kanter’s article points out a step that I overlooked above and one that is absolutely essential – showing up. She refines that as being physical presence, rather than the more nebulous approach of just being present in mind. She says:

There’s a well-known saying that 90% of success in life comes from just showing up. It’s a cliché because it’s true. Digital and other remote communications are efficient and helpful, but there’s much to be said for being there, face-to-face with other.

This is very true and something that I have personally experienced and subscribe to. Many people, myself included, enjoy working from home. But I do it sparingly. I don’t struggle with productivity, depression, or any of the other commonly cited reasons for not telecommuting; rather, I find that because I work on a team I get more done when with that team. It’s a true form of synergy. When people show up and speak up (two of the five powers), clarity begins to be added to the situation and actionable items begin to take shape. It may not be the whole road map, but at least next actions can be defined and worked on.

I highly recommend that you read the Five Powers that Get Ideas off the Ground to help you get your next idea off the ground.

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