We’re in third week of this great book reading experiment with “Making Ideas Happen.” If you’re just joining the conversation, you can catch the first two installments here and here. This week we read the following section:
Reading for Week 3: Pages 107-163
I’m not sure if this happened to anyone else, but I felt especially challenged by the concepts in this section. I think that it’s because the key principles Scott talks up are all opposite of my natural tendencies. This is uncomfortable for two reasons: (1) They don’t seem to make sense at first and (2) I don’t like finding out that I’ve been wrong. Mostly the second reason is the one that really pushes me over the edge. Let’s talk about these ideas from Scott that are pushing the envelope…
Dreamers and Doers Need to Join Forces
I used to categorize myself strictly as a doer…that was my job – to make the ideas that fly around our office happen by any means necessary. And I was good at it. But I’ve realized over the last few years, that I am really energized when I come up with an idea (or work with a group to conceptualize an idea) to make something happen more efficiently, to communicate more clearly, to deliver something bigger, better or unexpected to our audience. So I have realized that dreamers aren’t limited to those people that come up with the grandiose ideas. Dreamers are also people that come up with creative and new ideas to make the grandiose ideas come to fruition.
That was just a side note.
The real point to this principle is that doers like to be surrounded by other doers that can check things off all their lists. And dreamers like to be surrounded by other dreamers that can appreciate their ideas without shooting holes in them. But this is not healthy. These two roles are actually quite complimentary and need each other to thrive. The trick is to find the balance of dreaming (too much is overwhelming for doers) and evaluating (being critical too early is destructive).
Share Your Ideas – Liberally
Wow…this principle really doesn’t jive with me naturally. I like to keep my cards pretty close and when I have a fairly solid plan, I like to throw it all out on the table and see if anyone around me is impressed. But I miss a key component of continual improvement when I do this….feedback. Scott discusses the value of not only seeking feedback from people, but involving other people in the process of implementing your plan. My senior pastor makes a point a few times every year that there are other people in our lives that are probably better at our jobs than we are. And if we can open up long enough to get their input, they would probably give us advice that would improve our ideas in areas that we didn’t even realize needed improvement.
Ask anyone that knows me, and they’ll tell you that I THRIVE on competition. I took the StrengthsFinder test with the rest of my department a few years ago and discovered for the first time that I was the only person who was competitive at work. All the time before that realization, I had been trying to outperform everyone…complete tasks sooner, better, with fewer mistakes, and be nicer the whole time. Little did I know that no one was competing against me.
This principle of seeking competition actually is easy for me, because I view everyone as competition. But actually learning from them is the hard part….viewing their contributions as something valuable to me is not natural. It reminds me of this story I read on Dan Cathy’s blog recently.
Again, this section is filled with great ideas – Promoting yourself in order to build your network; The Start/Stop/Continue idea; Creating systems for accountability. I wish I could cover them all. But you’ll just have to read it for yourself. Next week will be the last installment of this book review, and we’ll cover the last section:
September 23: Pages 163-218
Enjoy your week! And try to make some ideas happen!