Ideas are a dime a dozen. Execution and action separate the pros from the Joes.
To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions. – Steve Jobs
Every business organization has the men and women consistently coming up with a new idea. Of course, those creative thoughts are valuable, but they’re also relatively easy. Sitting back and thinking about the next world-changing concept requires little more than closing your eyes or daydreaming while browsing the grocery store aisles. Putting ideas into motion can be a boring, consistent grind. The willingness to implement trial and error over time and stay with concepts when they’re seemingly leading nowhere is what building a business is all about. From inc.com:
Think back for a moment to the people you’ve known in your life who achieved great entrepreneurial success and ask yourself how they reached their professional zenith. Yes, some of you may be fortunate enough to know individuals whose conceptual prowess was their ticket to ride. But for most high-achievers, success comes in places that are decidedly more mundane–the doctor who built a thriving practice over time, for example.
I have a great idea for men. We don’t like to get out of bed to take a leak, right? We’re cozy and comfortable and want to stay that way. We also have this awesome appendage that allows for flexibility. What if contractors built a device that pulled out from under our beds that connected to our plumbing that we could reach down and access in the middle of the night? We could pee into it, and it would recoil back into the floor. We’d be optimizing for better sleep. Think of the demographics. Our target market is 50% of the world. We’re going to be rich.
I’m not telling anyone about this. Someone is definitely going to steal this brilliance. It will stay secret. Forever. That’s because it will take a shitload of work to put my thought into action (it’s also a really bad idea, but I digress). This is where 99% of ideas die.
We’ve preached often the benefits of taking the first step. It’s important to get started, but it’s critical to continually follow through. The most successful companies are not ones that invented an entirely new concept. Google was not the first search engine, and it wasn’t the first to put ads on its content. Google executed the concept better than every other competitor and continues to refine the process every day.
Whether you’re looking to truly impact the world or simply make that first million dollars, ideas don’t create change. They simply sit in our brains, bouncing around and depriving us of mental bandwidth for actually completing tasks. From Felix Dennis in The Narrow Road:
Good ideas are like Nike sports shoes. They may facilitate success for an athlete who possesses them, but on their own they are nothing but an overpriced pair of sneakers. Sports shoes don’t win races. Athletes do.
I have lost count of the number of men and women who have approached me with their “great idea,” as if this, in and of itself, was their passport to instant wealth. The idea is not a passport. At most, it is the means of obtaining one. In some instances, a fixation on a great idea can prove hazardous, distracting your attention from the perils and pitfalls you will inevitably encounter on the narrow road.
Sorting through to find a good idea, then taking steps necessary to see it come to fruition is our only chance to leave a mark.
If you never have a single great idea in your life, but become skilled in executing the great ideas of others, you can succeed beyond your wildest dreams. They do not have to be your ideas — execution is all. When confronted with a great idea, your reaction should be to scrupulously analyze its commercial potential in the context of your own ability to transform that potential into triumph.
Ideas don’t make you rich. The correct execution of ideas does.
We always advocate self-awareness. Next time you have a great idea, examine it critically. Can you make this idea into something real? What can you do today, right now, to take a step and make something happen? If the answer is “nothing,” perhaps you should move onto something else.