fire_hose1.jpgI hear innumerable ideas, which is wonderful. I really enjoy creative enthusiasm. At the same time, I know how far a journey it is from raw idea to concept sketch to operational plan to approval to execution to result.

My strength and my weakness as a grizzled veteran is that I know what has been tried before, what has worked and what has failed. And, for better or worse, I think I know why.

So when someone bounces a new idea around, asks for permission to proceed, I have choices of how to respond. In days past I did my best to delineate known failure paths, warn of areas not to go into or to avoid. These days I am much more likely to:

– Specify the resources available (time, money, support from other parts of the organization)

– Define the desired result (how will we define success?)

– Establish interim accountability checkpoints, reporting deadlines, and channels

And then let the team loose sans the words of caution I used to impart so carefully.

Why have I ceased my litany of warnings and cautions? My tales of “lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”? Three major reasons:

– The past is becoming less of a reliable prologue to the future. Just because it didn’t work yesterday is no guarantee it won’t work tomorrow.

– I’ve come to believe that the quality of the execution of an idea can have as much impact on success as the quality of the idea itself.

– I found that my warnings often had an unintended side effect: I was acting like a fire hose, dousing creative enthusiasm and energy.

Sometimes the greatest risk is not taking any risk. Is there a part of your life where you are being an unintentional fire hose, dousing the fire and energy of creative enthusiasm with excessive caution?

Closing Quotes:

“A mediocre idea that generates enthusiasm will go further than a great idea that inspires no one.” — Mary Kay Ash

“What I do best is share my enthusiasm.” — Bill Gates

“A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm.” — Charles M. Schwab