Protecting Your Progress

Coach John Wooden said, “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

“All or nothing thinking,” is one reason momentum ends, stagnation begins, and defeat lurks in the darkness.

Undeveloped is weak not necessarily bad.

Newly born ideas aren’t bad they’re just undeveloped. They die under the burden of questions they can’t answer. Protect and nurture your baby-idea like a mother hen.

Protecting ideas.

  1. Focus on the ultimate value your idea brings to customers or constituents. When the value is sufficient, sustaining reasons emerge.
  2. Rather than a funeral, birth a new, more audacious idea. Protect your baby with a bigger idea. (I’m focusing on this one.)

A near death experience.

The leadership team I work with recently discussed hosting a community event in June of 2010. It became apparent that our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. We had a choice to have a funeral and walk away comforting ourselves or like Wooden suggests, do what we can. Here’s what we did.

Huge makes big possible.

Last night I asked a team of 8 people to establish the high level organizational structure for a community-wide event we can host next year. In 45 minutes they listed 10 buckets of responsibility with brief job descriptions; everything from entertainment to legal to food to security. It’s daunting.

After that, we pulled back and asked how much of these 10 things can we do in 8 weeks? It surprising how much becomes possible by working backward from a bigger idea.

Bigger dreams standing behind smaller dreams make smaller dreams possible.

Bonus benefit.

Viewing an 8-week project as preparation for a larger 52-week project gives the smaller dream larger meaning.

Smaller dreams are bigger when they’re preparation for something larger.


How can leaders protect new ideas?