Ideas + Action = Big Things

“Many great ideas go unexecuted, and many great executioners are without ideas. One without the other is worthless.” — Tim Blixseth

Putting ideas into action is harder than it seems. Usually the person who’s best at coming up with ideas is wired to keep coming up with ideas, not put them into action.

By nature, the idea people — these creative types — are bubbly, enthusiastic and spontaneous. They use colorful language and often paint pictures of the big vision with metaphors. They collaborate with others and play on the excited energy of those around them. They are all about the possibilities and risk-taking and trying something new to see if it works.

These same creative types who push the boundaries of what is currently available also scattered and volatile. They often discount details as counterproductive to the bigger picture or even unnecessary, and underestimate the time it takes to complete the vision, because they are so excited to move on to the next phase or possibility. They are can be very disorganized, making it hard for them to focus on completing the task at hand.

On the other hand, the action-oriented person is a real solution seeker. Fast-paced, confident and strong-willed, this person directs traffic to get straight to the bottom-line of what ever it is that she is doing. Reactions are quick and decisive, willing to try something in the hope that it works and she can move on to the next problem to solve. These types get a lot done in a short period of time, talk about goals constantly, and are always planning the next step to move the needle on reaching the objective.

However, the action-oriented person may be so focused on getting results that she forgets to consider those who don’t move as fast. The army says “fast is slow, and slow is smooth,” because they have learned that some strategies take more time to tease out a better solution. On most teams, individuals like to contribute and feel like their input has been considered, and the driven team leader may push caring out of the way of efficiency.

In the early stages of any enterprise lots of work needs to get done. As the tasks start to get done, new problems pop up and require ideas to resolve them. It’s a constant cycling of idea-action-idea-action.

Some people have the ability to stretch back and forth between the two parts of their brain’s wiring and put action into ideas, but most don’t. The key to nearly every successful new endeavor is to use the strengths of both idea- and action-oriented skill sets as early and often as possible.