Each year I go to industry trade shows and I find some people who have achieved extraordinary results since our last meeting, while others seem stuck and haven’t moved at all. In nearly every case, I can trace the results back to one thing — speed of implementation. Those who take quick action on new ideas succeed, while those who don’t languish.
David: Hi and welcome to the podcast. Today, co-host Chris Templeton and I will be talking about how your speed of implementation accelerates your results. Welcome, Chris!
Chris: Hi David! We all have ideas, don’t we? Sometimes we take action on them and sometimes we don’t, but speed of implementation is not just about taking action on our ideas. It’s about doing it quickly so we can get the results sooner, right?
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David: Yeah, exactly. We get an idea, we take action on it (or we don't take action on it) and we get a result. We get a result if we DO take action, we get a result if we don't take action. If you were to graph this, you could sort of do it as a cycle. It's a sort of a circle or an oval. And the idea comes first. So the idea happens, say that's a light bulb, right? So we get this brilliant idea, we're exposed to a brilliant idea or just comes in the middle of the night, whatever it is. That's the idea. So then the next thing that needs to happen is we need to take action on that idea. So that's second, right? So once we take action or we don't take action, then the third thing that happens is we get a result and then after that maybe we'll get another idea and the cycle will repeat. So while we can't always control the amount of time that it takes between the time we take action and the time we get a result; like if we do a sales pitch, we can't always control when we're actually going to get the sale. That's the action vs. the result. We can often control the time between the idea that we get and the time that we take action on that idea. So that particular area in that cycle is where we need to focus our attention because it directly impacts the cycle time. The sooner we take action on an idea, the sooner we can find out what the result of that action is.
Chris: I think it's a very salient point that regardless of whether you take action or not, there's a result and it's measurable, isn't it?
David: Completely measurable. Yep.
Chris: What do you think seems to keep people from implementing ideas the way they should?
David: Well, a lot of it goes back to fear, which is something we talked about in a previous podcast. People are just scared of stuff and it paralyzes them into inaction. They just don't take action on it. They get an idea, I think it's a good idea, but I'm afraid to move forward on it. It could be that, it could be a matter of priorities. I want to do it, I know I need to do it, but I have these ten other things that are pressing right now. They might not be as important, but they seem like they need to get done, so it could be a matter of priorities. It could also just be a matter of business as usual. I'm used to doing things in a certain way and it's like, I like this idea, but I don't really know if I want to do it. I don't know if I have the time. I don't know if it's going to get me the results, so all of those things could potentially play into it.
Chris: But if we're focused on speed, isn't there a danger of rushing through things and hurting the quality of our work?
David: Oh, absolutely, and I'm not suggesting that we're rushing through things in order to just get them done, but we're talking about the time between the idea and the time of taking action. If we can just tighten that up, we'll still spend roughly the same amount of time taking whatever action it is we're taking. I'm not suggesting we have to rush through the action itself. I'm simply suggesting that if we're able to accelerate the velocity between the time that we get the idea and the time we start taking action, that very often is going to be the biggest difference because sometimes the actions that we need to take could take minutes or it could take hours. Maybe it'll take days, but in more cases than not, it's going to be far less time. But the amount of time between the time we get the idea and the time we start to take action, that's where it ends up sometimes being days, weeks, months, even years. If you've ever had an idea that you thought this would be a good idea, I really ought to do it and I haven't done it yet. You're living in that gap.
Chris: I think a lot of the fear that you talk about is also a function of looking at what's the end result going to be versus what's the next step? And being able to take a series of next steps quickly is a whole lot different than trying to think of the idea all the way through to the end and all that that encompasses, we kind of create this fear and resistance when we do it that way.
David: We do, and the longer we procrastinate on it, the more that compounds because we're thinking, "Oh, I should have done this. I've been meaning to do this, this is driving me crazy." And all of that is just wasted time, wasted effort, wasted thought and it doesn't get the thing done.
Chris: And you know, I mean the other side of that also is that it doesn't guarantee positive results does it? I mean, we can implement something quickly and it still might not work the way that we intended.
David: That's right. And in a lot of cases it won't work exactly the way that we intended. Speed of implementation is not a replacement for intelligent, smart action. It's just an accelerant. And the best part about it is even if we're taking action that isn't going to get us the result we want; even if in some cases we're taking the wrong action, the reason it's okay to take wrong actions sooner is because we find out about the results sooner and then we can potentially fix it sooner. There was a great quote, Tom Watson from IBM. He said, “Solve it. Solve it quickly. Solve it right or wrong. If you solve it wrong, it will come back and slap you in the face and then you can solve it right. Lying dead in the water and doing nothing is a comfortable alternative because it is without risk, but it's an absolutely fatal way to manage a business.” That's coming from Tom Watson, so I would tend to listen to that advice. I think it's good advice.
Chris: I think it's great advice. And if we really do focus on what the next step is, instead of being kind of overcome by fear of how am I going to get to the end? I decide that I'm focused on a process of trying the next step. "Oh, that didn't work." The consequences are much less than trying to do something from beginning to end and then having a much bigger failure that's much more difficult to correct versus these small steps. "Did that work? What can I learn from it? Did this work? What can I learn from it?"
David: Right. And when you do that, when you're able to minimize the time between the idea and the action, you could potentially test out five, six, ten, twenty different things in the time that it will take your competitor to test out one thing because they're delaying that action.
Chris: And you're going to have so much more fun if what you're doing is you're just kind of a little off the cuff, right? A little bit of this approach is, "Hey, let's just move a little bit more quickly and not feel like we have to be all buttoned up to start with."
David: Right. It's not completely flying by the seat of your pants, but there's definitely an aspect of spontaneity that comes into it and saying, “Okay, this is the idea. I think this is going to work. Let's test it out. Let's find out as quickly as possible if it works or if it doesn't. If it works, we'll do more of it. If it doesn't, we'll try something else!”
Chris: And asking the question, “What's the next step that I can do, and can I make this a process that's enjoyable?” is going to help to set that stage and that foundation for implementing an idea and watching it go through and morph to what it ultimately becomes. That part of the process can also be just as much fun, don't you think?
David: Yeah, no question. And also, I'd love to think that every idea that I have is brilliant.
Chris: Oh no, David, it is I’m certain of that. So are mine, by the way!
David: Yeah, we're all more brilliant than we realize. I'd love to think that, but the reality of the situation is that they're not all going to work. So the more we can test things out, the more action we can take, the more quickly we find out which things work and which things don't.
Chris: And I would just add to that, I would encourage anybody who's going through these processes to take a look at what the learning is and make that learning be a result that helps you to move forward in a better way.
Chris: Okay, sir, let's talk about the action steps our listeners should take to improve their speed of implementation.
4 Steps to Improve Your Speed of Implementation
- Document the Ideas you need to take action on. Identify important items from your to-do list and rank them in order of their importance to achieving your goals.
- Act on the Most Important Idea Today. Focus on getting it finished, to the best of your ability, before moving on to the next one. If you get distracted, get right back to your top priority and complete it.
- Introduce the Idea of Speed of Implementation to your Team. Let them know that when they're given a new initiative, they need to take action on it quickly.
- Hold Yourself and Your Team Accountable for taking action on your most important initiatives as quickly as possible.
David: Okay. Well, first thing I would suggest, Chris, is to document the ideas that you need to take action on. There are probably a lot of them. You may have a to do list that is forty miles long. I'd go back there and identify which of those are actually ideas that you really do need to take action on. Put a date on it so you know when you came up with the idea and then rank them in order of their importance to your goals. Which one is going to be most likely to help you achieve your goals faster, and start with that one. So that'd be the second thing, take action on the most important one today. Focus on getting it finished to the best of your ability before moving onto the next one. If you get sidetracked, if you get derailed by other things, by life, by business, by all the things that happen that need to get done; then just get right back to it when you're finished and you can actually get it completed. So then the third one is to introduce the idea of speed of implementation to your team. Share this idea, share this podcast with them. Let them know that when they're given a new initiative, they need to take action on it. It's not just a random idea. It's not just a suggestion. It's something that needs to be acted upon, and then it's a matter of making sure that you hold yourself and your team responsible and accountable for taking action on those ideas as quickly as possible.
Chris: It is such a concise way of wrapping it up and really making sure that you're doing this in a way that involves a little bit less resistance and a little less fear and little more short term on what the next step is and have fun with it.
Chris: So simple! Okay, what's coming up in our next podcast?
David: Okay, well, you know what? Since we had this conversation, I think that's what we're going to talk about on the next podcast. We're going to talk about the difference between goal setting and goal achievement. What is it that you need to do to differentiate those things? If you're anything like me, you've set goals that have taken forever to come about. I know I've done this and what I'd like to help you with in the next podcast is connecting the dots there and saying, okay, what do we need to do instead of becoming simply goal setters to become goal achievers?
Chris: Okay, David, thank you very much. Quick reminder that if you're interested in finding out how David and his team can help you, go to topsecrets.com/call and you will have the opportunity to set up a strategy meeting to talk about how Top Secrets can help you in your sales and marketing. Thank you.
David: Thank you, Chris.
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