I just finished reading the book Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles between Vision and Reality. At first, I thought that some of the ideas were kind of obvious. The more I thought about it, I realized that this book contained some real gems. Of the ideas in the book, I chose a few favorites to share with you.
- When it comes to taking action, work and personal life collide, and that’s ok. So often people feel organized in one area of their life and yet another one slides. Today, with information readily available wherever you are, the reality is that some personal things need to be done during work time and some work activities need to be done at home. Don’t not do something critical or important because you are at one place or the other. If it needs to be done on the 25th, it needs to be done on the 25th. Just make sure you are giving the appropriate amount of time to each part of your life.
- Good design is great for productivity. The simple premise here is that if you like the system, you will be more likely to use it. Don’t accept a one-size fits all approach to organization. If you like the fancy decorated folders better, you will be happier and you will get more accomplished!
- Darwinian productivity: the “nag” and natural selection. Chalk one up to all of the moms out there; this certainly works with my kids! The key here is prioritization. The fact is that we have so much to do it is difficult as priorities continually change. Those who “nag” about what they need tend to get things faster. In fact, the book thinks that the “nag” should be an official part of the project management system.
- Appreciation is the greatest non-financial reward for achievement. We all know this. Yet as humans we tend to focus on what should be changed instead of what we are doing right. It’s amazing what a little appreciation does to help increase productivity. When we appreciate what others do, momentum builds and they continue to do it more. Try adding 2 or 3 comments of appreciation at your work today and see what happens.
- Start/Stop/Continue. This was my favorite part of the book. With all of the complex performance management systems out there, doesn’t it really just come down to this? What should you start doing? For example, start believing that you have the ability. What should you stop doing? For example, stop micromanaging. What should you continue doing? For example, continue your great attitude and work ethic. If managers communicated in this way once a month rather than annually filled out complex improvement forms, wouldn’t we be able to help each other stay on track before we got too far off the track? I think so. I think it can be completed more often than once a month and can be used not only by managers with direct reports but the other way around as well.
If you are a creative or entrepreneurial person and have always struggled with organization and productivity, you might want to pick up a copy of this book. If not, I hope some of these ideas have sparked some thought. If you have others, please feel free to drop me a line or share them on the VisionBridge blog. I’d love to hear them.