Occasionally I surprise myself and people around me with exceptional ideas. At least I get the feedback as if it was a great idea. I feel like the Linchpin, Seth Godin talks about in his books. As much as I love the feeling, I hate it when it goes quiet. For some reason the great ideas degrade to good and then to average and very quickly to quite bad. I have spent some time wondering why this happens! Someone once said; if you have done a genius act once, you should be able to do it again!
Interestingly enough when my ideas hit average and bad, I try to compensate with quantity.
As most often, when things happen that I cannot solve or understand I try to read books! After some reading it hit me. It was so obvious, at the same time surprisingly tricky to handle. Here is what I discovered to get up to a level Good & Great.
The secret is in keeping the flow and not in following a recipe! No magic, only consistency in hard work!
People tend to love recipes for success. First thing to know is that THERE ARE NO RECIPES and if you need one, you are being misled.
Seth Godin wrote in Poke the Box, “We reward people who draw maps, not those who follow them”. There is a lot of truth in this. If you see yourself as only a part of a system that you cannot affect, you will always follow and never lead.
I believe that everyone has the qualities necessary to be creative, insightful, witty and productive. It is a matter of training those qualities and bringing them forward. Once it is done, you have to work on your flow. The secret or my source of my epiphany was “the ability to keep the flow”!
Here is an example:
I needed to come up with a new service offering. It wasn’t anything exceptional about it. Just create a marketing message with all the parts of back-end support etc.
I started to set the environment to be totally creative. I closed my email application, closed all the streams of different social media. Switched off the phone! Now, nothing to interrupt and dilute my concentration.
Started to go through the process and after each step, pause and ask questions! The questions I used where very simple.
- Would Apple have designed it that way?
- Would my most demanding customer be happy about the change?
- Most of ALL!!! Is it possible to tweet the marketing message/sales pitch/? If your message is so clear and concise that you can fit in in 140 characters. Well you have done a great job!
The result was spectacular, simple, down to the point and easy to understand. I verified it with lots of customers and colleagues. I was proud of the result.
Next step is to do it again and again and again and….
The trick is to keep the flow of creativity. Don’t listen to people trying to sell you software, hardware of other stuff. You can only keep the flow with the things you already have. You need discipline!
Manifesto: Discipline, consistency, goals and delivery
Set a goal, if you haven’t already, do it now, stop reading and write it down. Can you do it in 140 characters? Try hard to achieve this.
Once the goal is clear, set as many action items you need to reach the goals.
Next, set aside 30-45 min. everyday to work on your goal. Don’t break this, don’t postpone it, don’t over do it!
Last, concentrate on delivery rather than quality. Sounds strange? It is not; if you have reach this far in the blog, thank you, most people stopped probably reading right down to the caption “Discipline…” Did you see many spelling errors? Grammar mistakes? I don’t think so, not that there were none, because you don’t care! People don’t care! Working an extra day on this blog would have killed the flow, delayed the release. It wouldn’t have given me the satisfaction of being on time and proud over the fact that I wrote it and people hopefully will comment on it! I don’t think you would be much more happy or impressed with the extra day!
In summary, be disciplined with your goals and focus only on delivering.
Focus on delivering, anything else that comes up in your way to delivery should be shut down. Stop checking e-mails, tweets, Facebook pages etc. If they don’t take you one step forward to you delivering, they are not just delaying you, they are taking you one step back. Set a time for the specific task and do only that and DELIVER!
Once you have delivered, tweet your heart out and update your Facebook like there is no tomorrow!
Looking forward to your opinions and comments.