OK, entrepreneurs … picture this: During your commute home from work, you have an AMAZING new breakthrough idea. The next day, you come buzzing into the office and excitedly start delegating (ahem, exploding) action items to your team. Their reactions: blank stares, silence, and a general lack of enthusiasm. Your reaction: frustration, annoyance, and a general feeling of get-the-heck-to-work.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and speak on behalf of your team. We don’t hate your ideas. In fact, we know that it is this passion for innovation that built the successful company we work for today. Bottom line — we vote for innovation.
BUT (come on, you know there had to be a but), in order to really champion your ideas, we need to be sold on them first.
As a team member, it’s really hard to get behind an idea if we don’t know what the vision is. Why is this a great idea? What’s the purpose? What’s the benefit? What’s the result you’re trying to achieve? Giving us this information will allow us to do what we do best—create a plan of attack that will allow us to execute your amazing ideas to their fullest potential.
Worried that pausing to develop your idea will slow down the momentum of your projects? Don’t be! Letting us know what’s expected at the end of the project will in fact save time by preventing mistakes along the way. And being aware of the vision will let us think through and bypass any potential obstacles that will prevent us from making progress. It allows us to be strategic partners.
Also, it’s important to know that you’re sold on the idea yourself. Knowing that you’ve put some intention into your thinking is very reassuring. If you’re finding that your new ideas are always ending up at the bottom of your team’s to-do lists, it’s likely because they don’t know how important they are to you, and we already have other projects on the go. As much as we all wish we were mind readers, we’ll never know this information unless you communicate it to us!
Here’s the amazing part—your success is fundamentally based on the fact that in the very beginning of your entrepreneurial career, you built your company on your ability to sell your vision to the marketplace. You are, by nature, an excellent salesperson. You just need to employ the same amazing sales qualities you use to dazzle your customers with your team. When you do, believe me, we will buy what you are selling! The result—a strategic, well aligned, excited team cranking out amazing results.
Bring on the ideas!
Illustration by Hamish MacDonald.