Do you have a great idea?

Maybe it’s a business idea that knocks the socks off your competitors. Maybe you want to change the face of an industry that has been “stuck in their ways” for years. Many of my students want to revamp the music industry, or make the US the new “hot-spot” for dance music, or prove that hip-hop isn’t dead. Many of my clients want to revamp their organizational cultures or have a new strategy to become truly “customer focused.”

No matter what your great idea is, you need to ask yourself these 3 questions. Each of them are integral to turning that great idea to a great achievement.

Upsetting

All great ideas upset someone. Other airlines don’t like Southwest Airlines’ philosophy because, in their minds, the ideas of “fun” and “love” just don’t mesh with “work.” Some people think Starbucks is ridiculous because they don’t understand that Starbucks is selling more than just coffee.

Think about any great idea – electronic mail, sending men to the moon, seceding from England and establishing a new nation! Every great idea causes great debate. If your great idea doesn’t piss anyone off, it’s not that great.

Connecting

If all you’re doing is upsetting people, however, then you’re doing it wrong. If your idea, vision, or philosophy is truly great, then some people will love it. And don’t discount those pissed off people, either. Some of your biggest opponents will be your biggest fans if you communicate with them with patience, passion, and tap into their perspectives.

You should also be connecting like-minded people with each other, facilitating relationships, and coordinating opportunities for people you know. You don’t want to be the only one spreading your ideas – get everyone connected and then you have a whole force of people spreading your ideas.

Leading

Okay, so you have a compelling idea and you’ve connected with people who think like you do… have you given any thought to leadership? I’m not talking about getting a business license and hiring those like-minded people to start your own company. I’m also not talking about signing up for some boring corporate “How To Train Your Followers” class, either. I’m talking about true leadership.

Do you consistently (meaning ALL the time) communicate and behave in ways that cause others to look at you and say, “Hey, that person has great ideas and they walk what they talk – I really want to be a part of whatever they’re doing!” Do you focus on giving trust and respect to all around you, so that they can be reciprocated? Do you empower and teach others so that they can independently stand on their own and say “I can do it!” and maybe even outshine you in ability? Are you an active learner; seeking out every opportunity to learn something new, increase your skills, and open your mind to possibilities you hadn’t thought of before? Do you genuinely listen to and acknowledge criticism, even when you don’t think it’s important or valid?

So, if you’re one of those people who has a great idea or plan, and thinks others should love it and know about it, ask yourself these 3 questions and answer them honestly. Lying to yourself won’t help you improve, and everyone has room for improvement. Wherever your weaknesses are, seek out resources online and ask people you know who are great where you are weak, and start working on yourself!

Only you can decide to learn. Only you can decide to do. Only you can decide to truly lead.

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