Your Ideas Are Useless
I was in a meeting discussing the pros/cons of partnering with a new vendor. The price point seemed reasonable and the functionality seemed awesome but there was concern about our ability to train the staff and monitor it’s usage in light of some other projects we have going on. There was no point in starting a relationship with this vendor when we didn’t have the time to cultivate and maintain it.
Someone on the call said “It’s obvious that this is a great idea. I can’t believe we’re debating whether or not we should do this. I don’t really see why it’s a problem.”
“I think we all agree that this option gives us everything we’re looking for. It’s just figuring out whether or not now is the best time to do it.”
“Well, there’s no time like the present.”
“Well, how would you recommend we implement it?”
Silence … Not good.
It’s good to identify problems. It’s better to have ideas on how the problems can be resolved. It is BEST to have a plan to put the idea on how to resolve the problem into action.
So how do you go from ideas to plans … It’s easy as
- Know your organization’s goal and the resources available for the project. This gives you an idea of the parameters you are working within. There’s no point in spending hours presenting options that are either too expensive or outside the scope of what the organization has in mind. It’s always helpful to know what great, fancy options are available for future reference — but you will need to bring your idea down from the stratosphere and create a plan that puts it back to firm earth if you want your organization to take it seriously.
- Learn the industry and your organization’s history. There is nothing new under the HR sun. It is likely someone, somewhere has tried and failed or tried and succeeded at what you’re trying to do. Use your network to find out what other organization’s in the industry are doing to address your same problem. Talk with other people in your organization to find out what has been tried in the past. How did those plans work — and why? This will save you from reinventing the wheel and help build credibility for your plan.
- Map out an implementation timeline. All plans answer the age-old questions: what, who, why, how, where and when. Your plan should address all of these clearly, in detail and with contingencies. It is hard to say no to something that will improve efficiency and effectiveness in the organization when a plan for successful roll-out is laid at the organization’s feet. And, even if the answer is “no” or “not right now,” you will still have your plan to use in the future or with another organization.
The ability to identify deficiencies in the organization and determine ways to overcome them is a key ingredient to performance excellence. Developing this skill will lead to longevity, stability and diversity in your career as you are able to demonstrate value and knowledge across disciplines and departments.
Ideas alone are useless. Don’t just have ideas. Make plans.