The global pandemic brought on a paradigm shift in the workplace. How, where and why we work and live changed radically. While it’s been an incredibly challenging time for everyone, the unprecedented obstacles brought about by Covid-19 also gave us the opportunity to rethink, rebuild and restore.
Organizations were forced to shift traditional management styles for collaborative approaches which encourage more creativity, foster more innovation and invite new ideas.
The hunger for new ideas is not surprising. We live in a digital era that allows us to consume information and share it with people from all across the globe in seconds. With popular television shows like Shark Tank, which gives people the chance to pitch their ideas to seasoned professionals, more and more people are beginning to believe that anything is possible.
So how do you bridge the gap between an idea and a reality? Transforming an idea into something tangible requires one to balance two conflicting mindsets: optimism and pragmatism. While there may not be a handbook or magic formula to achieve what may seem as “the impossible,” there are simple considerations and processes that can help you ensure your next big idea can, in fact, turn into a reality.
Challenge Your Limiting Beliefs
The first person you need to persuade is yourself. Often times people base their beliefs on overly simplistic, utilitarian assumptions. It’s natural to form conventional beliefs and assumptions as we try to make sense of the complex world around us. So when we’re convinced that we have a good idea, we often stifle ourselves and subconsciously sabotage our best efforts. The first step in transforming a big idea into a reality, therefore, is to release your own limiting beliefs and convince yourself.
Most worthwhile endeavors are never easy, but they are possible. Challenge the status quo and your preconceptions by creating an actionable plan that includes a realistic timeline with tangible goals, costs and necessary resources.
Build a Team
Great breakthroughs typically don’t happen to a single lone genius. As Isaac Newton so famously said in 1676: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” The next step is to put together a team and cultivate it.
Build a team that represents stakeholders with a wide array of expertise and opinions. Identify everyone’s strengths. What is the source of their energy? What unique talent do each bring to the table? It’s important to acknowledge their individual roles and valuable contributions.
Encourage diverse views while staying grounded in your shared values. Ensure every team member understands that all ideas are welcome and will be considered. Listen to dissent by creating a safe space for thoughtful conversation and critique. I believe this is how business leaders bring out the best in their people and create their best ideas. It is central to any entrepreneurial culture and, when harnessed effectively, can be a company’s most powerful, competitive advantage.
Use Feedback as a Springboard
Now that you’ve convinced yourself and established a solid team, hone your ability to use feedback effectively. First, reject the notion that any idea is impossible, outright. Bear in mind that not all feedback is created equal. Oftentimes, when people say something can’t be done, what they’re actually saying is that it hasn’t been done before.
Then employ critical thinking. Those “devil’s advocates” on your team can be great allies if you use their feedback constructively to foster new perspectives and illuminate a path to better solutions.
No matter how implausible an idea may be, ultimately it comes down to whether or not effective processes are in place. An idea is just that until it’s executed and there are results. Converting that next big idea into a reality starts by following up on a “what if?” with a “here’s how.”