April 29, 2009

Great ideas don't make a difference.

So you have a killer idea. One that you and others believe is going to change the world, leaving it a better place for one and all. You have gone through the process of releasing the virus. You have found your sneezers (thanks Seth Godin) and they are carrying the message that you have handed them with passion and intensity.

Unfortunately, although there seems to be a lot of noise about your idea, the results are not measuring up to the hype.

Now is the time that you need to ask yourself what work you have done to actually move your idea from being a mere thought or concept into something tangible and of value. Simply communicating an idea is meaningless if there is not an intentional effort to move it forward.

There is not a shortage on out of this world ideas. There is, however, a deficit of individuals who are willing to risk it all, putting in the effort and work that is necessary to ensure that a great idea becomes a great reality.

April 06, 2009

Revolutionary Cost

Recently, I introduced the concept of encouraging and creating micro-revolutions in our organizations. Micro-revolutions occur when we effectively communicate the mission and vision, and then step aside and let others run with it, not out of a sense of duty or obligation, but out of a desire to be a part of the mission that they believe in.

This costs you something. By creating micro-revolutions you may see the mission attained, yet you may find that you do not receive credit for the accomplishment. However, you should be more focused on seeing the vision and mission achieved without regard to any personal gain or accolade that you may receive. In other words, the benefits are more substantial than the cost and risk. Seeing the dream and mission that you have become reality must be more important than any other gain.

Here are some questions that you should truly ask yourself before endeavoring to create and encourage micro-revolutions:

  • Am I willing to hand my mission over to others to carry? - One of the keys to starting and sustaining the growth of micro-revolutions is overcoming your desire to be in complete control of every decision that is made. You must get to the point where you have invested and planted well enough in your team that you can allow those that you have been pouring into to carry the mission in a way that is their own. Something that you should keep in mind also, you don't get to choose who will be in control. The tribe decides this. Are you willing to hand the mission of to others to carry, and then step aside and let them achieve big things?

  • Am I willing to sacrifice time, money, and even myself for the mission? - Micro-revolutions require a substantial and consistent investment of your time and of yourself to see the mission reach fruition. You need to be actively involved in communicating the mission and vision that you have, and at the very onset, you are going to need to be very much in the details of how the mission and vision will be implemented. This means that you are going to need to spend time, additional time even, ensuring that the foundation for micro revolutions is being established and given some consistency. Micro-revolutions do not happen overnight, and you and your organization must be willing to patiently invest without any immediate sign of return, and potentially immediate loss. At first, it may even feel as though you are losing any ground that you may have already gained. It is important to remember that this is a normal and desired effect. You are correcting mistakes that were made before you adopted this concept. Pull up the straps of your boots, keep moving forward, and grow.

  • Am I willing to fail and learn big? - To grow, you are going to have to fail and learn. The first few times that you feel as though you are ready to allow micro revolutions to take off, they will gain some altitude and crash to the ground. These failures will be frustrating, and you will probably begin to ask yourself if it is really worth moving forward with cultivating micro-revolutions. You are going to be questioned about time and money. What is the real value that this is going to buy? You have to be willing to accept failures if you want you mission to be successful. This is universal, and doesn't merely apply to this concept. Anything that you do that is of any significance is going to take an acceptance of risk of failure, as well as an attitude to learn from your failures.

This list is not exhaustive, but it is a starting point for determining if you have the stomach for embracing micro-revolutions. The true cost is as unique as the individual, but typically, it is going to be associated in the area of something that you do not want to give up. Whether it is your time, or money, or even the need to have your hands in each and every task, there is something that you must surrender in order to see the mission reach fruition.

Understand that although there is tremendous value in creating an environment that cultivates and encourages micro-revolutions, doing so will cost you something, perhaps even significantly. But, if you are completely sold out on the mission that you have been uniquely designed for, then nothing else should matter anyway. In other words, your filter for success needs to move from self focused gain and towards mission focused gain. Achieving the mission requires a selfless and sacrificial attitude. It requires the heart of a servant.

Are you willing to pay the price for achieving something bigger than you?

April 01, 2009

The power of micro-revolutions

Sometimes, it seems no matter how hard we work towards achieving the mission that we have been created for, forward progress appears to be non-existent. Regardless of how much energy or time we expend, it feels like the wheels are spinning. Occasionally, there are even moments that it feels as though we are making negative progress!

If you want to see the mission that you have been molded and designed to complete reach fruition, then you must be willing to put aside any personal gain that is not related to the reward found in seeing the mission fully embodied. While achieving missional success is your responsibility, you must understand that others have been formed to support and carry the mission forward.

This can be done through strategically cultivating and encouraging micro-revolutions in our organizations.

Micro revolutions are not revolutions that separate us from the mission and vision of the organization, they are revolutions that occur when members of the team buy into the mission and vision, and want to see it fulfilled. The key to this strategy being successful, is that you must be willing to let go of control, and allow others to carry the mission using the unique strengths, talents, experiences, and abilities that they can offer. This strategy allows the tribes within the organization to tactically organize and carry the mission and vision to levels that would not be attainable otherwise.

You can call it mutiny or and abandonment of the system of the hierarchy, but if you want to see an idea, vision, or mission ignite and spread with passion and intensity, it is best to encourage others to turn the tables and carry the your message. You must realize that your job is simply to provide the direction and communicate the mission, engaging people lead with a heart of action!

There are of course costs and benefits associated with this concept. Over the next several days, I will begin to unwrap this a bit more.

For now, be prepared to strike the match, get out of the way, and let the tribe build the raging fire!