We have a book that releases next week. I look forward to sharing more about the book in an upcoming blog (okay, probably several upcoming blogs …) but today, I want to focus on the choice to take this journey. Hindsight is 20/20. It is easy to clearly identify something as a good idea at the end of it — when the wisdom of your decision is evident, the project is a success and everyone is patting you on the back for a job well done. Unfortunately, “good ideas” rarely come labeled as such on the front end. In fact, those leadership decisions that end up being the biggest “game changers” often have the most skeptics at the outset.
So what does it take to turn that “crazy idea” that keeps tugging at you into a long-term, game-changing win for your organization?
- Strategic clarity. This is what gives you the confidence to choose to pursue an initiative that others in your industry might advise against. Most people offer feedback based on where they are standing — their perspective — which may be entirely different from your strategic focus. The clearer you are on your organization’s destination, the more confidence you can have in decisions that might not make sense to someone who is pursuing a different or more well-trod path.
- Adaptability. When you are really clear on and committed to the destination, you don’t let roadblocks stop you. You find a way to adapt. Our book evolved over the time we worked on it. Sure the topic and goals for the book are the same as when we started, but the format, the title, the specific chapters and look of the book unfolded a bit differently than we imagined at the start of the project — and the end result is better! I’ve yet to see a successful project that didn’t require, and benefit from, some adapting along the way.
- Impatient patience. Patience has become a rare commodity in today’s instant everything, “quarterly bottom-line” world. We started the process of writing this book in 2015 . . . more than 4 ½ years before its actual release date! Most big ideas don’t bear fruit in a single year, much less a single quarter, and so you have to be realistic — with yourself and your stakeholders — about the long-term nature of the expected outcomes. At the same time, you have to have a sense of urgency to keep pressing forward, always asking, “What is the next step in the process?”
Making and implementing an “out-of-the-box” decision is not for the faint of heart. It takes strategic clarity, adaptability and impatient patience. As we start a new year, are you willing to take that journey?
Here’s to a game-changing win!