Turning Ideas Into Actions

As important as creativity and ideas are, they require action before they will have real value.

These six steps can help you take action on your ideas.

A hypothetical team faced a significant challenge on a project. After a very successful brainstorming session they had several ideas that would address and possibly alleviate the problems they faced. They were very enthusiastic about some of the ideas they generated. But soon, the glamour wore off, because their ideas, in order to help, needed to be instituted, and the project was already behind schedule.

Jackson was a person you could always count on to get things done. His manager went to him often with new ideas, projects, or challenges to overcome. The list of ideas on his plate was overwhelming, even though he did get more accomplished than most people.

Michelle was one of those people who always came up with new ideas. If you needed help brainstorming, everyone knew to call Michelle. Unfortunately, too often after the fun of generating ideas was gone, the list of ideas to implement was daunting.

It was a situation like this that lead someone to ask me a question in a recent workshop;

“How do I learn to turn ideas into actionable tasks?”

After reflecting on the question I came up with 6 steps you can take to help you implement those great ideas.

First, whether you are an individual or a part of an organization, you have to prioritize your goals and objectives. What are the most important things for you to accomplish? Having a good idea isn’t enough. The idea must also be relevant and important to your goals. Ideas that don’t pass this first test should be set aside for later.

Next, try to get clear on what you are doing. Ideas in and of themselves are fun and exciting, but they are seldom complete or crystal clear. Before taking action on your ideas, make sure you understand what results you expect. This step is especially important for ideas that will be implemented by a group, because, not everyone will have the same picture of the idea until it is clarified.

If your idea has passed the first two tests, it’s time to plan. Identify the implementation steps. Think about the timeline. Figure out how this idea helps to achieve your goals. Time spent in planning and organizing will pay off in the end.

The next step would be to find others to help you. You may not be able to turn your idea into reality by yourself. Your planning should help you see where you might need someone else’s experience or insight. This is true for teams as well. Think about what resources you might need and line them up as early as early as possible. When you do these things your idea will become a reality more quickly.

Once you’ve reached this point, decided which ideas to implement and decided on a plan, you have to make the time to make it happen! Focus on creating the space and time to turn your ideas into reality. Move from the idea stage to the action phase. Focus on making things happen.

Finally, remember that there is a big difference between a good idea and the right idea. You may have many good ideas on your list. For some of them the time isn’t right, some of them aren’t important enough and some won’t be completely aligned with your goals and objectives. None of these factors should stall your progress. In order to implement your best ideas sometimes you must be willing to let go of, or at least defer some that have less value in the moment. When you are willing to do this you improve your chances of successfully implementing your best ideas.

Any one of these steps by themselves, could be helpful, but when you use them together they will help you share and prioritize ideas, as well as deciding what to work on and who should be involved.

Before any idea results in real value, there must be action taken. These six steps can help you turn ideas into actions that help you achieve your goals and objectives.

Have a great day!