Want Your Ideas to Get More Traction?

By Tom Davidson

You’ve come up with “the what,” a great idea, a needed solution, or a strategy to reach that illusive goal.

You unveil it at a meeting, tell your boss about it, or write it up in an email and wait for the kudos and support to roll in. But nothing happens. No one picks up on your idea, provides approval or authorizes funding. What was missing? Probably one or more of the following:

Strategies related to how an idea would be implemented should be observable, measurable and/or tangible. As such, their articulation should begin with an action verb. Stay away from passive-action verbs (e.g., “look at,” “consider,” or “think about”) and choose active-action verbs (e.g., “deliver,” “execute,” or “achieve”).

While timelines may change as additional information is gathered, it’s never too soon to start thinking about the logical progression of next steps. Discussing when puts legs to a concept and starts to add urgency to its consideration. Laying out the order, the timeframe or the priorities as they are seen at the time does this.

Concepts for action should also include an owner, sponsor or other responsible party. Depending upon the issue and circumstances, these can be one of the follow: a person, a function or a department. When an idea is attached to responsible parties, the chance that it will take flight increases, even if debate ensues about who is chosen to lead the effort. The conversation is thus changed from if to how the initiative will move forward.

Give your ideas traction by fleshing them out so that the people you are trying to influence can visualize them coming to fruition, and you’ll get your big ideas out of the garage and onto the freeway more quickly!

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