Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Notes - Making Ideas Happen

Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky
Phenomenal read - you should read this. Ton of great stuff in here for personal productivity and team leadership. I gave an Action Journal [based on the Action Method] as a gift to a few people.

Making Ideas Happen = Ideas + Organization + Communal Forces + Leadership Capability

Creativity * Organization = Impact

Project Management:
A relentless bias toward action pushes ideas forward.
Stuff that is actionable must be made personal.
Taking and organizing extensive notes aren't worth the effort.
Use design-centric systems to stay organized.
Organize in the context of projects, not location.

Action Steps
Start each with a verb.
Capture them everywhere.
An unowned action step will never be taken.
Treat managerial action steps differently.
Foster an action-oriented culture.
Attraction breeds loyalty.

Set up your backburner.
Create a backburner ritual.

References obstruct your bias toward action.
Use a chronological pile or file.
Feel the flow of references - question it, label it, file it.

"Creators Immediacy" - an instinct to take care of every problem and operational task, no matter how large or small, as soon as it comes up.

Killing ideas - Disney's three rooms.
1 - rampant idea generation.
2 - idea aggregation resulting in a story board.
3 - the sweat box - critical review without restraint.

Measure Meetings with Action
Don't just meet because it's Monday.
End with a review of actions captured.
Call out nonactionable meetings.
Conduct standing meetings
Don't call meetings out of your own insecurity.
Don't stick to round numbers [don't schedule for a full hour like scheduling software defaults to.]
Always measure with Action Steps.
[Oh so many people should read this section.]

* Godin's 6 month MBA.
"I can say that Godin's MBA program likely serves as a better foundation and stronger impetus for entrepreneurial success than any other top MBA program."

"Done Walls" - literally gather up the records of completed projects and then decorate certain walls with these artifacts.

"Insecurity Work" - stuff that you do that has no intended outcome, does not move the ball forward in any way and is quick enough that you can do it multiple times a day without realizing how much time is being wasted.

"Committal Benefits" - when you publicly commit yourself and take on risk to make an idea happen - represents the increased likelihood of others to take a risk of their own to support your projects.

"Respect-Based Self Marketing" - amassing a group of followers on the web - people choose to follow you and your work because they respect you or something you have done. Once they choose to follow you, they have invited you to push information and updates to them. [so true]

Leadership development is experiential. Through trial and error, good times and bad, we gradually become better leaders - but only if we are self-aware enough to notice when and why we falter.

Engage Initiators
Building a team of enthusiastic and talented people is one of the greatest challenges for leaders. A resume gives little indication of a candidates true mettle. Rather than focusing exclusively on an individuals experience, truly effective managers instead measure a prospective employee’s ability to take initiative.
When you stumble across an Initiator - someone who has passion, generates ideas and tends to take action - recognize your good fortune. Nothing will assist your ideas more than a team of people who possess real initiative.
[Like Rework "Starters"]

IDEO 'T' people - the long horizontal line represents breadth of experience while the tall vertical line represents a depth of experience in one particular area.

Consensus can often lead to a lackluster outcome.
Teams should not strive for complete consensus at the outset of a project. After all, consensus-driven teams run the risk of settling on what offends no one and satisfies no one. Early and complete consensus is comfortable but almost always unremarkable. Leaders of creative teams should identify and highlight the noteworthy, memorable solutions at both ends of the spectrum that, in all likelihood, are not agreeable to all [sacred extremes]

While conflict is never pleasant, as leaders we must acknowledge that conflict provides a precious opportunity to judge the leadership capability of others.

Admired leaders use conflict in two ways. The first is to evaluate the reasoning and patience of their partners and superiors. The second way leaders use conflict is to build confidence and earn their teams' respect.

"Leadership is most effective through the art of storytelling." - Steffen Landauer

Appreciations - having just shared a story/idea/presentation, you go around and ask people to comment on the elements they most appreciated. The exchange of appreciations is meant to help you build upon your strengths with the underlying assumption that a creative craft is made extraordinary through developing your strengths rather than obsessing over your weaknesses. "It is strange that, in our culture, we are trained to look for weaknesses. When I work with people, they are often surprised when I point out the wonderful crucial details - the parts that are alive."
Appreciations are not about being polite. They are about pointing out what is alive.

Hot spots = very similar bright spots in Switch

As you lead others in creative pursuits, you are your greatest liability. Self-leadership is about awareness, tolerance and not letting your own natural tendencies limit your potential.

Benefits of Failure
What external conditions may explain the failure?
What internal factors may have compromised your judgment?
Are there any gems in the unintended outcome?

Contrarianism - the act of purposely thinking against the grain when approaching problems and brainstorming new ideas. Contrarians are willing to manage (if not embrace) the uncertainties and risks inherent in thinking differently. And by questioning the norms, they are bound to either find better approaches or to feel more confidence in the old ways of doing things.
Don't rever someone based on age.
Reconsider your approach to mentoring. Instead of just above, look around and below you as well.
Distinguish past accomplishments from present knowledge.
Aspire to better practices, not the best.

You have a responsibility to make your ideas sustainable. For an idea to thrive over time, it must be treated as an enterprise.
"Entrepreneurs are not the ones with the best ideas. They're just the ones willing to jump off a cliff without the answers." - Andrew Weinreich

Please take yourself and your creative pursuits seriously. Your ideas must be treated with respect because their importance truly does extend beyond your own interests. Every living person benefits from a world that is enriched with ideas made whole - ideas that are made to happen through your passion, commitment, self-awareness, and informed pursuit.

No comments:

Post a Comment