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Your Ideas Are Worthless!

by David Brock on November 21st, 2012

For that matter, so are your plans and strategies!  We spend a lot of time focusing on these activities.  We’re proud of our creativity, we’re proud of the work we have done to generate the ideas, plans, and strategies.  We’re even protective of them (particularly pundits, consultants, and gurus who go to extremes in “protecting” ideas.).

Ideas, plans, and strategies only translate into value for our customers and us in execution.  It’s putting them into action, learning, adjusting, tuning, and producing results that drive the value of our ideas, plans, and strategies.

Think about it, how many times have you seen somebody do something–a colleague or peer.  Or you read something in a paper or some sort of web-based article.  And you think, “I thought about that,”  “I had the same idea,”  or something similar.  Or we read about people, organizations, companies, that have great ideas, but someone else executed it.

We don’t know the value of the ideas, plans, and strategies until we execute and see the results.  We don’t know how to increase the value of these until we get some experience, until we see the results,  and learn from them, tuning them to achieve the outcomes we want.

Coming up with ideas is fun, it’s creative work.  Implementing them is tough, messy, full of pesky details.  Implementing them is difficult because we may fail–perhaps an idea before it’s time, bad execution, even a bad idea.  But even failure informs us, and shapes our next ideas, improving our likelihood of success.

We have ideas for our companies and organizations.  Until we engage our peers and colleagues in “making them real,” we achieve nothing and we don’t change. 

We have ideas and insights for our customers.  They are wishful thinking until the customer decides to put them into action.  Our insights are without value unless the customer chooses to act on them.  Our value proposition is not the idea, but our ability to help the customer implement, execute, and achieve the outcomes presented in the idea.

If you are in the knowledge business, consider giving your ideas away freely.  The magic is not the idea itself–the web and libraries are filled with billions of ideas.  The real secret or magic is the ability to make them happen.  To translate them from an idea into an outcome that produces value.

We “value” ideas, but if the value of an idea is nothing, what are we valuing?

We need to value implementation and execution.  That’s where the rubber meets the road.

Stop talking about it, just do it!

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  1. Harsh but true, Dave. Ideas take execution to transform them into reality and seldom look the same once they get there as they did on the drawing board. And maybe that’s a good thing. Stealing your great business model is harder than you might think. Because taking the idea is a useless endeavor without putting in the sweat to make it work.

    • Thanks Heather. Ideas get their value in the implementation. We still need to generate great and new ideas, but without implementation they are just ideas.

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