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Following Through

June 9, 2010
by Scott Levitt ·  

Scott’s Thoughts: Fewer Ideas, More Follow-Through
Good ideas aren’t “great” until you act.

“Life is not long, and too much of it must not pass in idle deliberation how it shall be spent.”
–Samuel Johnson

Way back when I founded my first internet company in 1996, I hired a bright kid right out of college to help build the business. He was creative, eager to learn, and had been working on computers almost his entire life. In the interview, he seemed to have a ton of enthusiasm, and offered many promising ideas.

As he worked with me, I realized he did have a lot of great ideas. Too many, in fact. Too many ideas? Sounds impossible, right? Most employers would kill for bright, forward-thinking people in their organization who had a lot of ideas to offer.

So what was the problem?

The problem was this: He was great at coming up with ideas “on the back of the napkin,” but when it came to making those ideas happen, he lost focus. It wasn’t long until a new, shiny idea came along that took up all of his attention. He was always running on to the next big idea, while the last big idea sat there, barely started.

Ideation, the process of brainstorming and coming up with ideas, can be a lot of fun. The real challenge is following through with the idea, through the muck of implementation, setbacks, changes in direction, and (occasionally) failure.

One idea well done is better than twenty ideas well said.

The next time you see yourself drifting away from any formerly “great” idea, ask yourself if you’re drifting for good reason, or if you’re simply feeling the resistance of trying to take an idea to completion.

Don’t give up! Press forward and carry that idea– whether it’s marketing, self-education, or simply sticking to the nuts and bolts of a client relationship strategy.

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