Judy C. Arnold
IDEA OVERLOAD: Finding the right balance
Many businesses struggle to innovate. After all, it’s hard to come up with a totally new idea. Often times, a new spin on an old idea can be a smashing success—take bottled water and Starbucks for example.
But, I have also seen the opposite challenge—an overflow of ideas. It’s fantastic, and critical, to be visionary and continue developing your business. Experts remind us that the initial idea that launched success won’t last forever and organizations need to transform and change to stay relevant. #Accenture points out that “relevancy is the beating heart of a living business” that requires “a need for constant evolution.” 1
Yet a strong leader knows how to keep one foot firmly planted in today─to drive the business forward─while keeping an eye on the organization’s vision. With a small business, limited resources and budget, a commitment to realistic priorities most likely to drive successful results and revenue growth in the short-term has to be the primary focus. At the same time, the other foot should be dipping a toe in different ponds, testing the waters of new ideas for the future. But how do you keep your balance to do this simultaneously?
#FlintMcLaughlin, founder of #MECLABS, the world’s largest independent research institution, points out that “If the leader wants a different outcome than the one he is currently achieving, he may do better to look backward rather than forward.” This means reflecting on significant failures and their root cause─which can be painful when many of the organization’s failures lie within yourself. Moving past that to prevent their recurrence is the trick.2
Among Flint’s recommendations, three hit home for me. First, your greatest enemy isn’t your competition, it’s your blind spot. It’s important to recognize, and admit, what you don’t know and rely on experts who have the know-how you need. Secondly, busy leaders are very focused but on too many good to-dos. Choose and accept the tradeoffs. And third, focus on what you do best.3
To me, it’s all about slowing down and taking the time to check in with yourself about where you’re focusing your time. And, I’ll admit, that’s not an easy thing to do─especially for someone who moves at an incredibly fast pace. But, I’m confident, that if you invest the time to take a deep breath and reevaluate your goals and objectives─and assess what you are doing to accomplish them─you will be able to weed out time wasters, great ideas that just have to wait, and the most beneficial ways to spend your time to reap short and long-term benefits for your business.