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Turning ideas into action

AUDIO: 5 Tips that Turn Ideas Into Actions

by Greg Yates | Breakthrough Leadership

Nothing gives me an eye-roll moment more than hearing someone talk about a new product or service that hits the market.

“I could be rich? I thought of that in the shower five years ago and I said, ‘Alice, I should do that.’ They stole my idea.”

They feel a combination of being cheated and being gratified at the same time. The truth is that someone else took action and developed it.

Why Ideas Never Come to Life

The world is filled with Legendary Non-Performers!

In the manufacturing world, we developed and prototyped many new ideas. I learned early that ideas are NOT viable until actions are taken that bring them into reality in the physical world.

I remember the wooden prototype Joe built, which was an automatic, pull-out drawer dispenser for a set of custom canisters holding flour and sugar. They were nested inside each other. All you had to do was pull the proper drawer and it automatically dispensed the proper volume. It was cool. He wanted us to build tooling to produce production on these products. I was young and naïve. We built prototypes which were never paid for. His phantom appointments with Walmart to make his fortune never materialized. He quit answering his phone, and I never heard from him again.

I’ve been part of bringing a lot of ideas into reality and profitability, and I’ve learned there are some very specific keys that open that lock. Great ideas are like great theories. Until they are tested, they are still theoretical. Unless you’re willing to submit your idea to these five keys, it will never be born.

Unless You Expose Your Ideas to Scrutiny, They Are Merely Fantasy

Let me point out: ideas are safe. Putting those ideas to the test is risky. Your ideas are personal. Sometimes it’s easier to keep them safe and not risk the fear of failure. Regardless what your idea is, it’ll need the following keys in order to make it to reality.

These are the 5 Tips that turn ideas into action and each one is a crossroads

#1 – Consider the Cost

  • Not all ideas are good and not all ideas will succeed. But, in order for an idea to see daylight, it has to be exposed.
  • You will be vulnerable. You’ll have critics. You’ll have conflict.
  • Remember that ideas are really problem solving adventures!!!!
  • You better consider the cost.

#2 – Make the Commitment – Eyes Wide Open

  • Realize that this decision is the first physical action.
  • This is the point that transforms an idea and places it either in the recycle bin, or begins a working draft.
  • Even the commitment to abandon the idea is a key commitment. In order to open the channel of your creativity to other possibilities, an idea must be filtered. True decision making embraces engagement and identifies correspondingly essential releases.

#3 – Examine Your Resources

  • Can you do this alone? If not, what will have to happen, and who will have to be involved? What are the prerequisites?
  • Be realistic! You don’t have to have all the answers up front, but you can’t build on fantasy either. “…And then something magical happens”, is not the pillar of a successful business plan.

#4 – Expose Your Idea to Trusted Advisors.

  • Face the brutal truth.
  • Ask for feedback.
  • Be vulnerable not defensive.
  • Establish accountability and support.

#5 – Burn the Boats

  • If an idea is truly to become action, it replaces previously viable options.
  • You can’t serve two masters. This may be a small idea or a massive one but either option will require it to replace something previously held as true.
  • All of these require excitement, commitment and abandonment:
    • New lifestyle ideas.
    • New leadership ideas.
    • New relationships.
    • New products.
    • New ideas about any previously established process.

Turning ideas into action could be the greatest reflection of God’s creative power at work within us.

Add your comments to the conversation: What is your biggest obstacle when it comes to putting ideas into action? Post your reply below.

About Greg

Greg Yates has been a Chicago area businessman for over 30 years. He’s the author of the book, "Broken - How Being Broken Unlocked The Greatest Success of My Life". He has simultaneously owned 14 different businesses in a variety of industries; including real estate, manufacturing, payroll, and technology. Greg has also been an investor and a board member. He attended Olivet Nazarene University. He has a passion for flying. He’s had a pilot’s license for over 30 years and owned a variety of airplanes. Greg and his wife Vicki have been married over 37 years. They have a son, a daughter and seven grandchildren.

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