In Action, Change

“The vision must be followed by the venture.  It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the stairs.” – Vance Havner

My experience with business leaders is that those who are successful and thinking about the future never suffer from a lack of ideas.  Rarely do we sit down with an accomplished leader, ask them what’s going on, and hear nothing.  Usually it’s the exact opposite – a flood of (usually) random thoughts covering everything about the business, from people to products to markets to customers to government regulation.

What is a lot harder for leaders is action.  More specifically, efficient action.  Too many leaders with lots of ideas either: 1) are too overwhelmed by the volume of ideas so they don’t do anything, or 2) try to do everything and end up doing it all poorly.

Unfortunately, your performance is not going to be judged simply by how many ideas you have, even if they’re all good ones.  What really matters is what you actually end up doing.  So to get through the mound of possibilities, here are two suggestions:

First, figure out what really matters.  Put the old 80-20 rule into practice: 80% of the impact is driven by 20% of the factors involved.  Understand your business & your marketplace enough to be able to identify that 20% – then work on that.  It doesn’t mean that the 80% are irrelevant; it just means that in the constant battle to figure out how to allocate resources, they miss the cut.

Second, break that 20% down into pieces.  If one of the things that really will impact your business is “creating a sales culture”, then think about the little things that would go into doing that and start working on those.  Maybe your people need some sales training.  Maybe you need to more consistently communicate certain sales-related things to your people.  Whatever it is, break it down into chunks and tackle them that way.

What are you actually getting done in your business?  Are you spending your life trying to figure out what to do?  Or are you trying to do everything and as a result doing it all poorly?  Or have you learned how to prioritize the things that really matter and then effectively make the changes you need to make?  It’s never too late to get started – but get started today.

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