Connect with us

Success Advice

8 Questions to Ask and Answer Before Saying Yes to a Good Idea

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

If you’d like to learn how to stop saying ‘yes’ to every little thing so you can take control of your life, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.


It sounds counterintuitive to kill off good ideas, but chase too many of these darned things and you will find your business moving nowhere quickly. In the article “If You’re the Boss, Start Killing More Good Ideas,” it credits Steve Jobs with the following theme at a management conference at Yahoo: “Jobs advised them that killing bad ideas isn’t that hard. He insisted that what is really hard—and a hallmark of great companies, is killing good ideas. For any single good idea to succeed, it needs a lot of resources, time and attention.”

You should repeat that last phrase daily.

When consulting with a major retailer a few years ago, one of the most visible signs of the culture was a frenetic energy around moving ideas off of the whiteboard and into formal projects.

It was widely understood that the best way to catch the eyes of senior management was to either lead and gain approval for a project, or to find a way to attach yourself to the big ideas and expansive project teams of the firm’s fast-trackers.

Ideas were everywhere. Projects multiplied like rabbits. It was chaos.

The result of this idea-fueled project culture run amok was a classic case of too many projects chasing too few resources. There were dozens of great ideas being pursued by project teams, yet few finished and even fewer made a difference to the firm’s results. 

At the height of the firm’s success in the market, the internal engine charged with refreshing, renewing, and sustaining success creaked and groaned and eventually failed, opening the doors for some much more focused and disruptive competition.

The word “no” is one of the most powerful management tools in your toolkit. It is also one that is under-utilized. 

“Don’t say maybe if you want to say no.” – Paulo Coelho

Here are 8 questions for you and your team to ask and answer before saying “Yes” to yet another interesting idea:

1. Does the idea support our core strategy? 

If not, kill it. If your strategy is not clear and it is not providing a mechanism for filtering ideas, solve this problem first. In the absence of a clear strategy, all ideas seem viable.

2. Is there a customer experiencing significant and visible pain that this idea resolves?

If you are focusing on benefits only, beware. Be careful attempting to justify a new initiative because of all of the perceived benefits it delivers. At the end of the day, burden relief typically outsells benefits. 

3. Is the idea a “me-too” initiative in direct response to a competitor?

If yes, work harder to find a way to differentiate your offering or firm from your competitor. Playing “follow the competitor” is typically a formula that guarantees you will lose.

“You have to change the set, stay ahead of the curve.” – Carson Daly

4. Are your current customers screaming for this feature?

Remember Henry Ford‘s famous advice: “If we had asked our customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Customers are notoriously poor at articulating their true needs. Before blindly working to meet their needs for a particular feature, spend time observing your customers and strive to understand the underlying issues or challenges leading to the request. Chances are, there’s a genuine need lurking somewhere under the surface request.

5. Will a customer have to change his/her operating processes to adopt this idea?

While this alone is not an idea killer, beware of banking on ideas that require clients to quickly change behaviors. That almost never happens.

6. How will we evaluate whether this idea is successful or unsuccessful?

Or, for longer range initiatives, how will we measure progress and know that the idea is on track to contribute? Establishing the criteria for success or failure helps identify whether something may just be an interesting experiment versus an initiative that quickly contributes to revenue and profits.

7. What is our time horizon for this idea?

Well-managed firms treat ideas and projects like a portfolio of stocks. Some are intended to deliver results immediately and others require patience and nurturing. Beware of overloading the short-term portion of your portfolio and underfunding the longer-range initiatives.

8. How will our team members respond to this initiative being added to their “To Do” lists?

Audible groans from the people responsible for the work is an indicator of potential overload. Be careful!

The Bottom-Line for Now

In our fast-changing world, we are bombarded with the need to be agile and adaptable. The risk in all of this adaptability and agility is that we rationalize taking on too many ideas at any one time, starving all of them for the much needed care and feeding. You most definitely want a culture that generates a lot of ideas. You also want to create a culture that optimizes the odds of your best ideas becoming successful in the market. Learning to say “No” is a critical part of success. 

How do you determine whether you say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to someone when you only have a certain amount of hours in the day? Share your advice with everyone below!

Success Advice

Women You Need to Pursue Your Dreams Despite the Fear

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

You hear it all the time…. you just have to follow your dreams. They make it sound so easy, but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Right? But have you considered what can happen to you if you stifle those feelings that you meant for something more? If you try to ignore those feelings by telling yourself it’s not the right time, you don’t have time for that, or any other excuse there is? (more…)

Continue Reading

Success Advice

5 Ways Great Leaders Give Rise to Great Ideas

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Shutterstock

It is often hindering when you hear a variant of ‘that is not how it’s done here’ in your workplace. This usually happens when employees voice their concerns or new ideas for a project, and it is confusing when a project leader dismisses or overlooks such interesting input. Even indirect dismissal in the form of ‘OK, is there anything else?’ may inadvertently build a workplace atmosphere that is not conducive to genuinely effective brainstorming. Why may this happen? And how do great leaders give rise to great ideas? Read on to find out. (more…)

Continue Reading

Success Advice

Hire Slow, Fail Fast, and Learn Faster

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” These words were once spoken by J. K. Rowling, famous British writer, and I believe they should be applied to a person’s success. (more…)

Continue Reading

Success Advice

Empathy is a Skill: Transformative Practices Behind Connecting With Others

Avatar

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

Empathy is a key ingredient in developing fulfilling relationships in your life. According to one study, relationship satisfaction was predicted by the perceived empathy of the other person. That means if your partner believes that you empathize with them, your partner is more likely to be satisfied with your relationship. Fortunately, empathy is a skill that can be developed and used in every area of your life. Here are some key practices that you can use to strengthen your ability to empathize with others. (more…)

Continue Reading

Trending