“We’ll need to defer any talk about it until our next meeting, since we have too many other things to cover today”.
“OK then, next topic, controlling costs in the janitorial department…….”
Ah yes, another idea goes to what I call “idea limbo“. A place where ideas typically expire, unexplored and under-appreciated.
Because time is our enemy – the more time that goes by between idea generation and idea exploration, the lesser the chances of it ever becoming something “doable”.
Leaders, especially those in startups, face this enemy constantly, because there are always a thousand different “things” that need to be done at any given time – it’s just a fact of business life.
And so great ideas can slip by, initially acknowledged, but unfortunately “filed away” into idea limbo.
The secret to overcoming this tendency, and putting your company into the success “sweet spot”, is to treat ideas a LOT differently.
Those ideas need to be met with a sense of urgency. They need to be dealt with NOW. The janitorial budget can wait.
If we keep that urgency front and center when ideas come, then the “default” would be to explore them as soon as possible, until a determination can be made of their worthiness.
I’ll give you a “laboratory” example of what I mean by this – and it’s quite pertinent because it relates to something everybody in business does at one time or another.
Go to conferences.
I’ve been to probably over 100 of them in my business lifetime, and they typically consist of speakers throwing ideas at us – ideas that are designed to help us.
These ideas come fast and furiously, and in my case I would just as furiously take notes, if the ideas sounded appealing to me.
That notepad became my “idea limbo” – I never got much of a chance to digest them, so when I got home, they languished on that notepad as I went back to my busy business life.
I just wonder how many great ideas I missed benefiting from over all those years!
So, when it was time to do our own conference, SOBCon (with co-founder Liz Strauss), we decided to take a different approach. We’d still have great speakers delivering the ideas, but then, we would “stop the music” immediately after the speech, and devote the next 50 minutes to having the attendees digest and process the ideas as they pertained to their business, right then and there.
The difference in results, using this “ideas meet urgency” approach, were truly eye-opening – attendees weren’t “losing” or “parking” the ideas; they were using them, right away, to their benefit.
Watching this happen year after year has convinced me of the real power of finding this “sweet spot” of success.
Ideas, meet urgency. Happy to make your acquaintance!
(This week Liz and I will be hosting another SOBCon in Portland, on September 28 & 29. If you’d like to see this “ideas meeting urgency laboratory” yourself, check-in at our website for the live stream)