Whether in business or in life, you have a great idea, you share it, and soon after you wonder why you bothered. Disappointment sets in. And so soon. How can that be? And more importantly, can we change that?
Picture the scene. You have an idea, you’ve given it some thought, now it’s time to get a second opinion. You want to sense check your idea with someone who isn’t quite as invested in it as you are. That’s sensible, isn’t it?
Objections then seem to rain down upon your head. Commonly they fall into two sets – the useful, and less so. The useful set is when you get feedback that changes your idea, adding thoughts or experience, which improves the idea. The other adds layers of complexity, squashing enthusiasm and introducing delay. Your idea slowly dies.
The useful input we can and should be able to live with. It’s how the other scenario happens and is managed that is interesting.
This doesn’t happen very much in a start-up business. They’ve got a good idea, they may even have sense checked it and it is still good, but the layers of complexity just don’t happen. The reason is simply because the start-up business doesn’t know enough about the detail to allow that to get in the way. They know the WHY the idea should happen but they don’t know HOW at this stage.
They will eventually need the detail to really make it happen, but do they actually need the detail right now to fully explore WHY it should happen?
Contrast this with an existing business where they have prior knowledge, expertise, systems and processes. They understand a lot of the detail, and because of that people lurch immediately to the things that they are comfortable with. They start discussing how it might work, or more particularly how it won’t, without fully exploring the why.
Objectives first – detail later
It’s very difficult to have clear objectives about where you and your business want to go if you are bogged down with immediate detail. At Hixsons, our idea of strategy is that it is high level, flexible, and strongly led by personal and business objectives. Our strategy plans deliberately don’t have a huge amount of detail, because it obscures the objectives and slows everything down. Once it is clear where you want to go, then you can sort out your optimal route. Not before.
So, the next time you have a good idea, ensure that your conversations stay at a high-WHY level. Do not allow them to get into the low-how detail until you’ve all agreed the objective, and how it fits into your business. Then you can find out how to do it. Fewer deserving projects will get squashed, and everybody will end up less frustrated.