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.
- Focus on the ultimate value your idea brings to customers or constituents. When the value is sufficient, sustaining reasons emerge.
- 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.
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?
nice post and great to see it in immediate action (which came first the chicken or…). I’m going to suggest that rather than protect new ideas – we wish to nurture them, which is exactly what your example does.
I think your early point about how they die is very interesting. I think a challenge for people – other than serial entrepreneurs – is to not over protect those things they have. I am sure this sits behind why many many things don’t fly (oh pun city today). Do we hold back because the idea might fail or because we might not have as much of something tomorrow? Release your ideas and stop protecting the past.
Richard (note I’ve fixed my “Croadie”)
It does seem to be a combo Croadie, let go and at the same time envision it as part of larger connection. Probably is an illusion that we are holding tightly onto it anyway…we are more of a placeholder with open hands awaiting flight…no fowl puns here.
BTW, you’ll always be Lost in Space to me!
Ideas are like raw material. Emotion and passion shape it. If you are not emotionally bound by ideas, it will vanish and it will not get direction. Passion is the stronger form of emotion that provide strong structure to ideas. It means, simply idea is not enough. Anyone can conceive ideas but how to protect it needs, determination, direction and dedication.
I think, leaders can protect new ideas by loving them, embracing them and working on them. Ideas are dead without action. Action after reasonable time, makes ideas obsolete. Timely action on ideas makes ideas live. So, time and execution are the crucial factor in bringing life to ideas.
Ideas are like blue print of planning. It provides clear picture to your goal. At the same time, decision to start or work on ideas needs courage. And that is the point, where real leadership comes into action. Real leaders take action with dare and determination but mis leaders question and question
ideas and finally unable to execute it.
I read in the book “The Dragonfly Effect” about microgoals. If we take a project and break it down into manageable steps instead of thinking that we have to leap over a tall building, there will be more checkpoints to evaluate our progress and more opportunities to celebrate!
“Huge makes big possible” – that is AWESOME!
I refer to it as chewable chunks for my folks. I want them to see the task broken down so it doesn’t look like Mt Everest and so they don’t focus on the unreachable. Sometimes things look hard until you get closer to them….. Once that view is seen as ‘chewable’ they seem to speed from milestone to milestone.
I love these daily posts! Thanks Dan!
How can leaders protect new ideas?
Another interesting post, Dan. I can’t wait how you catalyze the LF community to talk about leading tomorrow and the rest of the week!
Seeing the “chick” image leads me to point out one other nuance of the “small ideas” concept. That is that some small ideas need time to incubate. If you expose them full bore to the light, the cacophony, and the demands of their target population too early, they won’t be ready and the potential for failure will increase. Let ’em grow.
Interesting perspective Dan, particularly your community event. A couple years back, I was part of a community team to conduct a ‘homeless connect’ event which brought together all the possible resources to one location for one day for those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. We too got easily overwhelmed with the logistics and array of necessary services. We tapped into others who had done such events and they cautioned against doing year long planning meetings because of the loss of momentum, even though the logistics seemed daunting. They suggested, rather, a couple of steering committee meetings to keep on track and then 3 months before ramp up with the subgroups at least once every 2-3 weeks to keep on track. This is the third year, each year, serving more folks with more services. This go round it included, dental, vision, pet services, clothing, mental health, physical health, veteran services, governmental, peer support and non-profit agencies all under one roof. It also had a place where people could tell their stories, very important. It included what you came up with hot meals, security, musical entertainment, pretty much everything to make the event successful. Afterwards there is a debrief to celebrate and identify what to factor in for next year. Again it was a case of not over planning and pace to manage the event’s evolution.
Hey Doc – Danger Will Robinson here. Great example, and a great example.
🙂 You’ve just joined my genuinely great people club (started 2 minutes ago, population 2 – you and Dan). cheers
“I won’t belong to any organization that would have me as a member”…Groucho Marx
Thanks Croadie, I of course would be glad to be part o’ that club, can I collect dues?
Another great post Dan. Very practical and the how to’s are excellent. U always make us better.
Well done again and much thanks for sharing. On the other hand another sign of a great leader is to recognize that they too may not have all the answers and all the good ideas. A leader must practice detachment, be willing to be able to see a bad idea and be capable of moving away from it.