Just ship it!

Sometimes we can get overwhelmed and bogged down in trying to make an idea perfect – so much so that great ideas never make their way to reality.

Seth Godin talks about how shipping – the art of getting something out the door and into the real world – separates the “ok” from the great.

And it’s true. We need to take pride in what we do. We need to thrash around, work to make something perfect, and work hard at it. But the best approach is often to get the idea out there, into the real world, and refine it as it grows.

Example One – Check out this early version of Twitter:

Example Two – The first iPhone had no App options. Steve Jobs didn’t think they were needed and risked messing up the user experience (Instead developers could build pages that worked for the Safari browser already installed on the phone). Later, he changed his mind and the iPhone went from no apps to “there’s an app for that.”

Example Three – Almost any event I’ve seen repeated from year to year in a department with a consistent staff dedicated to growing or improving it. At our school, ResLife does some “fencepost” events that we are known for. It’s been amazing to see the improvements from year-to-year as Residence Directors brainstorm how to streamline processes and build in new, creative, energizing ideas.

Working on a project? Listen to the owners.

In “The math of action” we talked about how action matters as much as creativity for impact.

One way to apply this is to filter others’ input through the lens of action and ownership.

We often celebrate ideas, but ideas are cheap – implementation makes the difference.

In brainstorming sessions, it’s good to hear a wide range of thoughts. Occasionally you’ll hear from someone who’s full of ideas (often just before your deadline to complete a project), but they have no stake in the final product. Their ideas don’t affect their life.

I’ve learned that if someone is giving input without owning the work to make the idea happen, their input should hold less weight than input from the person who is willing to put in the work.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s a place for brainstorming. There’s a place for everyone’s ideas to be heard. This also doesn’t include the opinions and ideas of the boss or supervisor who has handed you responsibility for a project. They do have a stake in the outcome. They should be in the loop throughout the process.

But on a team, when it comes down to it, the ideas from those who are ready to step into the ring and put in the work matter more.

Encourage action and ownership by encouraging the people who are setting that example.