Last week our team began studying “Making Ideas Happen” and we shared our thoughts about the first 50 pages here. This week we dove into the second quarter of the book, and we wanted to open up the conversation about this section with you.
Reading for Week 2: Pages 58-106
Again, a few key concepts jump out of this section: (1) Set Your Priorities and (2) Keep Making Progress. Neither of these are rocket science, but I guess that you don’t have to be a genius to make ideas happen! And that is good news.
Set Your Priorities
I’ve heard the phrase “Urgent versus important” probably a thousand times before. I cringe when I hear it. But I think that’s because I know I’m guilty of spending too much time on the urgent instead of the important.
The statement from Belsky that “Energy is your most precious commodity” (page 59) really hit home. Most organizations watch their budgets like they’re playing the stock market. But what would happen if we watched our levels of personal energy spent that closely? I think we would see that the return on investment is not quite what we thought we were getting.
Belsky offers several ways to work on prioritization at the project level. One that is especially difficult for me is to “Make a Daily ‘Focus’ Area.” (page 64) Right after I read this section, I sent an email to our graphic designer (on a Friday). Here is the automatic reply I received back in my inbox from him:
Now that’s a good way to create a focus area without crippling the people that depend on you.
Keep Making Progress
This is where the rubber hits the road and most people find out whether they lean naturally towards the conceptual side of ideas or the execution side of ideas.
One quick thought I have that is contrary to some of Belsky’s writing….people who are naturally gifted at executing ideas should not be excluded from the “Creative” category. There is just as much creativity required to figure out the “how to’s” as there is to generate the original idea in the first place. And there are times I would argue that more creativity is required to work within constraints and realize an idea that was created outside of any constraints.
Now…I’ll hop off my soap box.
The biggest take away from this section for me was the reminder that we have to be willing to say “no” to ideas even if they are our own. I am stubborn to a fault, and I will argue my idea into the ground most of the time before I’ll put it on the chopping block. If I can remember that a better idea is probably right around the corner then I might be willing to drop my own ideas a little faster.
And speaking of saving time, wrangling meetings will also contribute to making meaningful progress. Here’s a quick list of characteristics of a good meeting:
- Keep is Short – real short….15 minutes or less
- End with a Review of Actions Captured
- Don’t Meet Out of Routine or Insecurity
There is so much GREAT material in this section. I could go on and on. But I have a list of Action Items to attend to, so let’s wrap this up. Thanks to Scott Belsky for sharing his great ideas! We’ll continue over the next couple weeks with the following schedule:
September 16: Pages 107-162
September 23: Pages 163-218
P.S. Andy Stanley did a great message on 8/29/10 entitled “Priorities Determine Capacity” in relation to our time and energy. I think he knew we were discussing this section on our blog.
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST PET PEEVE ABOUT MEETINGS??
HOW DO YOU MEASURE PROGRESS ON PROJECTS?