Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ideas, teamwork, execution, success; the nature of building stuff

I love it when I have ideas. However, my own internal metric for how I value my ideas is diminishing because ideas are a dime a dozen. The key to pulling off an idea is execution. This is old news, and I find myself with millions of ideas but not enough time, money, or people to pull them off. The ability to execute on an idea and get the idea into a form that helps people is the greatest talent on earth.

The greatest challenge with having an idea is not to fall in love with it. Sure, you can love it, but you can not be _in_ love with it. The moment you are _in_ love with it, then you are entrenched. Problematically, you can't scale, delegate, or be objective. The goal of having ideas is to be able to find people that can fall _in_ love with it so they spend their energy and life force into executing it. Passion is the key to executing.

Problematically, having an idea and giving it away means that you can not take credit for it. If you take credit for it, then you risk the other person falling out of love with it. In my world, no love equals no execution.

Making people fall in love with your ideas is surprising easy if they value the end result. You just lead them on and let them form the final part of the idea (or something better). Humble people will give you credit and work earnestly; egomaniacs will drive themselves relentless so they have the credit. Either approach works for getting the job done.

Personally, I have difficulty with other people taking credit for my ideas, but then I realize that I'm blessed to see the infinitude of ideas that could change this world for the better.

So I have a choice:
  • Do I stay in my cave taking credit for the world's progress to myself?
  • Or, do I build a team and start chipping away at the ideas to make the world awesome?
I choose to do team building (although living in a cave is an attractive idea)

Teamwork is hard for a multitude of reasons, and I've always felt that the best way to do it is to encourage/woo everyone to be in love with the idea. This quote guides my management style.

"If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The key to this is to give ownership and autonomy to the parts of the idea to the people so they can own it and execute on it. This is no easy task as you have to let other people own and take credit for the idea. If you fail at giving credit, then you can' execute.

If you can't execute, then you fail.

If you execute, then you have Success!

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