Cheat Sheet: Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality
10 Great ideas from a recent business book
BY DAVID SQUIRES
Published in the May 2012 issue
A 1% improvement in conversion can boost sales by 5%
- BREAK projects down into three components — Action Steps, References and Backburner Items. For each project, create a main folder with these three sub-folders underneath. Everything related to that project gets filed in one of those sub-folders.
- WHEN WORKING ON a project, always make sure the next specific Action Step is clear in your mind. Action Steps should have verbs, and they should be precise. Don’t write “Get taxes done” when your next step is actually to look for a tax accountant, or to find out where to download a 1040 form. Instead write, “Research and select tax accountant” as your next step.
- AS A BOSS, one common “Action Step” you’ll have is to assigns projects. Use the same verb for all projects that you have to follow up on. For instance, “Ensure” ... “Ensure John P. has completed new advertising design”. This helps you easily find all the things you have to check up on at the same time.
- ON YOUR TO-DO LIST (list of “Action Steps”), it’s OK to mix personal and business assignments. Most productive people do.
- AVOID “insecurity work.” This is work that you do that feels productive, but really isn’t. Examples: checking your e-mail every five minutes, or checking web traffic stats, bulletin click rates or Facebook likes more than once a day.
- BE RUTHLESS about meetings. Don’t meet without an agenda of actions. Don’t feel the need to use “round numbers” — e.g. 30 or 60 minutes. Ten minutes is often enough. To speed meetings up, hold them while standing.
- IT’'S ALL RIGHT to share. In fact, it’s not all right to not share. In fact, if you have an idea on how your team could work better and you don’t share it, you’re stealing from the company.
- WANT MEMBERS OF a team to improve? At the end of a project, do a quick survey using the “Start/Stop/ Continue” methodology. Have team members anonymously share what actions their individual co-workers should start, stop or continue doing.
- HIRING TIP: The best indicator of future initiative is past initiative. If you have a choice of experience or initiative, pick initiative every time.
- DISAGREEMENTin teams is not bad. The alternative to healthy disagreement is apathy, a toxic state of mind that only encourages inertia.