As an entrepreneur, you've inevitably had your team chase a lot of rabbits down holes over the years. The net effect of so many starts is that everything you try to do is met with an initial dose of skepticism by the very people who will be accountable for making your ideas fly.
Rather than excitement, your enthusiastic speech illustrating this great new idea is met by a bunch of smiles by a group of people who will largely return to their desks and plug forward just as they did before, waiting and hoping for this new idea to die like the others that came before it.
This is not a recipe for success. You can gain more traction and success by controlling your own worst instincts and putting in some personal controls that will help your entire company become champions of change. Here's how:
1. Look at everything you do through their eyes.
Find a quiet hour and make a list of every single time over the past year you have started something that never came to be. You'll find there are tons of them, and each one chipped away at the perceived legitimacy of every new idea you have.
Great people don't mind hard work to achieve great outcomes, but these "ideas of the moment" exercises absolutely destroy credibility. Realize that they are looking at your new idea through the lens of how many have already died on the vine, and address that skepticism head-on.
2. Measure twice. Then measure a few more times before cutting.
The key to success is to focus on a few important things rather than a large volume of items resembling throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. Really consider carefully whether what's in your head needs to move ahead at this time.
Does it really fit with your core priorities at the moment, and is it that critical? Can it wait? What is your business going to stop doing to run with this idea? This last point should always be considered, as the real or imagined tradeoff of something else of importance will help guide the choices you make rather than just continuing to toss more over the wall at a staff already busy with the day-to-day.
3. Surround yourself with people who can say "yes" but will say "no".
This so important, because while you may think you are the smartest person alive, you simply don't have a pulse on the entire business the way your leadership team does. A healthy leadership team needs the ability to be open and honest with each other, with each bringing their own perspective which includes being more plugged into what's going on at the working level.
If they are afraid to tell the emperor he or she has no clothes, then you get what you deserve. If they are pushing back or even look uncomfortable, take stock and either regroup to better explain your rationale or put it on the shelf.
4. Explain "why" simply, completely and frequently.
Most business leaders are really great at telling people what to do, but often forget that when teams don't know why we are changing, they really won't embrace the idea and are likely to simply go through the motions at best. Take the time to articulate the problem, opportunity or goal simply and clearly. Share the big picture. Make sure everyone is on board with what made this a priority for you in terms they can understand and with benefits that clearly align with their perspective rather than yours.
So, when that next great idea pops into your head in the shower tomorrow morning, it's important to consider that the plural of the word "priority" is a recent invention born of our desire to fit 20 pounds into a 5-pound bag every day.
Less is more and everything you do beyond what's already in motion requires sacrifice. Address skepticism and provide frequent updates on progress. Staying true to these things will greatly improve the organization's ability to embrace and implement the most important ideas that will make the biggest impact for your business.