In my years working in corporate America, medical practices, and running my own business, I’ve heard a ton of great ideas; unfortunately, in most cases, no action is taken to make these ideas a reality. I’ve put together a short list of reasons why leaders, managers, and staff members decide it’s best to forget that something good can happen if action were taken.
Work is Painful
As a project manager, I often notice that people are enthusiastic about the results the initiative will yield. For example, a project is launched to create a new product that has huge potential in the market. The excitement usually comes to a screeching halt when work is assigned to the team members. Even though the project is important to the success of the company, the people feel the extra work is burdensome, and they hope the idea is scrapped. One rationale is that the project can wait one more year.
Mediocrity is Fine
Believe it or not, some leaders are willing to accept falling behind the competition. To get in the game, this project and many others must be initiated, planned, executed, and controlled. The leaders believe they have a share of the pie, and while it’s not great, it’s good enough to stay in business. The bills are paid on time, and people are willing to work in the company. Given that most of the work pertains to current clients, the workload and stress are manageable. In other words, the mediocre company is operated by mediocre leaders and employees. The unfortunate reality is that the days for these types of companies are numbered. Within a year or two, their market share will disappear, and mostly because the customers will decide that someone else can provide a better value.
Like me, I’m sure you’ve worked in companies where the leaders lack a clear understanding of what it takes to make the enterprise successful. I remember one situation where an executive petitioned for the main office to be moved to a location closer to his home. He was tired of driving the 15 miles to the current office, and felt he could be much more productive if his commute was cut to 5 minutes. You will find it interesting to know that he raised this issue at least 10 times in meetings with key stakeholders. His wish never came true, and he soon left the company. The job he accepted was 25 miles from his home. Go figure!
The takeaway here is that great ideas are only meaningful if someone is committed to making them become a reality. This means that a champion is required, which is someone who will work tirelessly to ensure the planning and work get done. This person must be either a decision-maker or someone that has the ear of the executive team.
There are people in companies that are willing to take on the challenge of getting things done. These individuals know when they can take on more work, and they also know when to ask to be removed from other work to focus on critical work. I’m sure you know who they are in your organization. You won’t find them near the water cooler or at break time because they’re busy doing the work. The other notable characteristic of go-getters is that they find excuse-making a waste of time.