Jeremy Gupta

@jeremygupta

Ideas along do not create change

Strategy without execution is an idea.

A goal for the team without that capability present in the team is just an idea.

A revenue target without anything to support the mission or a rallying cry is just an idea.

An objective for a team member without a support network of mentoring, supporting and coaching can just be an idea.

In digital ideas are a dime a dozen. Consultants and service companies are frequently brought into to bootstrap ideation and provide that “spark”. Strategy consultants are paid handsomely to ideate and handover a manual to execute by some internal or even worse, an off-shored team. To take it a step further, handoffs are the enemy of insight and a handoff (to execute) on the back of an idea generated from another team or company doesn’t create change. It created a gantt chart and a short term checkbox that can be checked before the team moves onto the next flashing light or checkbox that needs to be checked.

Handoffs are the enemy of insight.

What creates change is;

  • Context
  • Collaboration
  • Autonomy
  • Purpose

Give someone a list of prescriptive tasks and they’ll go and complete a list of prescriptive tasks. Give someone a list of prescriptive tasks and an unreasonable timeframe but with some kind of incentive (extrinsic motivation) and they’ll go and complete a list of prescriptive tasks in an unreasonable timeframe to get the incentive. Extrinsic motivation is short term though — it doesn’t create change, either in mindset of the individual or culture at the team level. Have a lion jump out at someone and someone could run x times faster than they probably ever have, but again that isn’t sustainable and short term.

The hardest thing in business/product is to turn ideas into lasting change. To move strategy into successful execution and beyond and it’s why the majority of companies suck at strategy — because they cannot execute, they cannot flip out of whiteboard into action and they cannot bring along the team for the ride by encouraging collaboration, providing context, ensuring autonomy and giving the executors a sense of purpose that lights their inner intrinsic motivation.

Going from idea to change can be a leap of faith across some rickety bridges.

Next time you’re “assigning” tasks to someone, “delegating” or crafting roadmaps for the doers, step back and take a look at what the handoff is. unless you’re going and providing context, autonomy, purpose and the environment to collaborate in you’re withholding insight and that’s a dangerous thing. Without insight, it’s unlikely any change will occur.

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