Woody Woodpecker asked, "What's the big idea?"
To which the other fellow replied, "You and your milk!"
Big ideas grab headlines.
Big ideas move mountains and people.
Visionaries toggle between one big idea and on to the next.
The BHAG mindset gives us the excuse to think big and leave the mundane to others.
People love big ideas. They like being entertained with the fact that these big ideas are being funded by OPM-other people's monies and OPM-other people's machineries.
It's good to see the view at 20,000 feet altitude but going down: the view changes drastically.
Leaders cannot toy with big ideas without being unscathed by the realities of implementation.
The major fright comes from the fact that there are many hats to be worn and handshakes to make. There are investments to be made from resources that seem to deplete the moment the ink has dried. There are gazillion things to do to even get at basecamp.
Instead of coming with big ideas, why not start with the next-level ideas.
There are studies supporting that change isn't scary when presented with the next logical step-an easy implementable blueprint where followers are not asked a 360% transformation, but a gradual shift over the course of time.
Focusing on goals that you can realistically accomplish will ensure that there is enough fuel that keeps you motivated but also enough oxygen to get you through each day.
Overwhelm is a by-product of too much, too soon, too many -all at once.
Lastly, are you a delayer or early satisfier?
Delayer waits at the last minute to accomplish the big ideas by creating layers of complex rituals and processes that are not necessary or essential while satisfiers are good at completing the task in front them and slaying the proverbial dragon, one by one.
Creating impact is not after 5-10 years of hard work and sweat. It's right now.
What's your big idea?
How do you turn that 'big idea' into everyday wins and giant outcomes?
I asked my daughter to finish her food and she responded by saying, Mama, I'm done with the food because I just pressed the DONE button.
The DONE button is something that is in our heads when and only when, we are confident that the product is good. But how do we know that it's good enough and ready to be let go?
The quest for perfection is the number 1 cause for leader's ambivalence and general uncertainty. This is the inability, when presented with options and alternatives, to buckle down under the weight of false pressures, mostly the fear of failure and the insidious 'what will other people say.'
The DONE button is always there and should be taken as the first option so that things are cleared off your plate and you can get down to juicier projects or roles.
It is up to us to make sure there is a DONE button when we are 60% almost complete. Rewriting, rewiring, rehashing, reimagining many ifs and buts do not translate to meaningful use of time and energy.
We can always go back and check what we have done, in light of new data or new appetite for reconsideration.
The rest is just icing on the cake.
There should be no shame in being successful in this post-pandemic time.
A lot of people and businesses are suffering, that is a fact.
Au contraire, there are also a lot of organizations and leaders who are thriving as we speak.
They may not be dancing in the streets but they cannot be silenced as well.
Today, I was talking to a representative of the fast growing company in their industry. We were talking about COVID-19 impacts on the business and how fast things are completed and she said that they are actually doing well.
You cannot doubt success and should never be ashamed to say that you are thriving.
This means that you have done something that have kept you afloat or even so, completely inured from the ravages of the crisis.
This means that you have certain best practice that you can share and help others learn from.
This means that you can serve as an inspiration to those who are struggling and unable to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
This means that there are specific processes and long-term thinking that enable your organization to be where it is today.
So, don't be ashamed or bashful to say, "we are doing well." It is not an anomaly or a departure from the norm which is failure. If failure is the norm, we are in big trouble.
We need successful organizations to lead the way for others, shine a light, and exemplify the best and excellent in complex situations.
Where are you succeeding right now? And yes, let the world know!
Half of the battle is won by just showing up.
Showing up for your employees and staff when they need an ally and a champion for workplace effectiveness.
Showing up for community causes that are no longer optional or good-to-have but are essential for collective rejuvenation.
Showing up for suppliers who are hurting in this pandemic and needed measures to ease their financial and logistical difficulties.
Showing up for your customers to say that you care and offer help when it's not being expected.
Showing up for your stakeholders and generate collective voices so that those that are not on the table can be represented.
Showing up despite the fear and uncertainty of the new environment where we live in.
Showing up and owning the co-responsibility of charting the new future in your sector.
When you show up, the world opens up for you.
Own the space and hold the space for others too!
A few weeks ago, I talked about Leading in Crisis and Beyond Resilience, two sides of the coin in the quest to rebound well in the post-pandemic environment. The last missing piece in this equation is impact.
LI + BR = IMPACT
Impact, in the broader sense, is the achievement of lasting effects that you want to see in your client/customer or stakeholder. If you are non-profit, we tend to look at the overall societal gains as a barometer for how far your results have achieved or contributed to these. In a post-COVID19 scenario, the stakes are high to put impact back as the centerpiece of your mission.
1. Impact is not cooked up in isolation
Impact is not something that you create on your own as an island. It is about building important relationships and connections in order to secure a broad base support for your work and increase the likelihood of its success. The triple bottom lines of planet, profit, and purpose emphasize a shared responsibility in creating, defining, and measuring impact at all levels of engagement with all partners concerned. Doing this alone is like walking through the tunnel in darkness and expecting a marching band to welcome you out.
2. Evidence doesn't come from big data
The biggest fallacy I have ever come across my desk in the area of impact is the fact that big data is the solution to the lack or incompleteness of the impact stories of governments, businesses, and the social sectors. Moreover, the overreliance to data is imbalanced. This time, there are more considerations and requirements in keeping with ethics, accountability with populations, and communicating strategically. All these, data can never tackle on its own. It needs the human element to interpret and make sense what data conveys.
3. Plan to fail
Despite the planning for success in measuring impact, failures are inevitable in the context of learning and re-learning to get things right. Obsession with success puts pressures on staff and management to be the first, the best, the most competent. These false measures only create frustration and bad precedents. Sometimes, it is not in your success that can tip the balance between being average and excellent. Failure provides tremendous opportunities that are not visible in the naked eye, either failures lead to real progress or give the impetus to redirect the actions to more fruitful areas.
4. Delivery is an art and a science
We judge a book by its cover all the time. Presenting your impact requires deliberate attempt to be concise, informative, and directive. Your audience deserves to know and best of all, to be engaged in exploring the future work that lies ahead. Sell them the vision but more than that, sell them how you are best positioned to lead them in that future through the results you are doing right now. Everybody loves a winner.
Leading in crisis and going beyond resilience will accelerate your impact in the post-COVID 19 climate. There is no substitute to doing good work. But why do you work hard when you can work smart.