Organization is the guiding force of productivity: if you want to make an idea happen, you need to have a process for doing so.
Every project in life can be reduced into these primary components.
- Action Steps are the specific, concrete tasks that inch you forward: redrafts and send the memo, post the blog entry, pay the electricity bill, etc.
- References are any project-related handouts, sketches, notes, meetings, minutes, manuals, web sites, or ongoing discussions that you may want to refer back to.
- Backburner Items things that are not actionablenow but may be some day.
The notion of taking rapid action without conviction defies the conventional wisdom to think before you act. But for the creative mind, the cost of waiting for conviction can to great to bear. Waiting builds apathy and increases the likelihood that another idea will capture our fancy and energy.
When it comes to staying focused, you must be your own personal Madison Avenue advertising agency. The same techniques that draw your attention to billboards on the highway or commercials on television can help you become more (or less) engaged by a project. When youhave a project that is tracked with a beautiful chart or an elegant sketchbook, you are more likely to focus on it. Use your workspace to induce attention where you need it most.
The pressure off being required to sit at your desk until a certain time creates a factory-like culture that ignores a few basic laws of idea generation and human nature:
- When the brain is tired, it doesn’t work well.
- Idea generation happens on its own terms.
- When you feel forced to execute beyond your capacity, you begin to hate what you’re doing.
Rather than focusing on face time, creative teams should embrace transparency and strive to build a fundamental trust between colleagus. As leaders, we must create rules and norms for the sake of efficiency rather than as a result of mistrust. We should measure tangible outputs like actions taken and quality of outcomes.
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
—President Dwight D. Eisenhower
People need to relax to be able to discover. Our unconscious won’t come forward and help us see things when we are too logical and focused on criticism. Sometimes someone will say, “I just want to know how to improve, not what is good”. People think that pointing out faults is the only way to improve. Appreciations are not about being polite. They are about pointing out what is alive. The recipient must take it in, incorporate it.
Good judgement comes from experience, and experience … well, that comes from poor judgement.