Ideas! Without ideas, well not a lot seems to happen. How often do you hear yourself saying “That gives me an idea” or “Hey, I just thought of something”? It happens more often than we care to admit.
This can be the birthplace of many concepts and thoughts that if correctly watered will germinate therefore spreading and gaining momentum to potentially become mountain movers. If you don’t put an adequate amount of fertilizer and water into your ideas then they will just shrivel up and die.
Ideas are spawned by leaders; by those looking who take control of their situation. It is a natural process for anyone who operates their own business, be it online or conventionally offline to be an ideas person.
Understanding the Problem! Why We Need Ideas For Success
Can you imagine how difficult it is to reach your goal when you don’t even know where you are??? It’s not at all possible! If you want to drive from point “A” to point “B” but you’re not even at point “A” then you need to find out exactly where you are before you go anywhere.
I’ve seen it time and time again in large bureaucracies (both public and private) where the managers were dead set certain they had solved their problem. They were jumping up and down, doing cartwheels, the Mexican Wave and all that jazz only to discover that their problem had now become a dilemma. They hadn’t even bothered to identify their current position beforehand.
For the small businessperson this is vital!!! It’s essential that this is done accurately and adequately from the start. Many of us don’t have oversized budgets that can be wasted away by negligence and misappropriation.
Just to harp on this point further let’s take this a little deeper. In your endeavor to ascertain what your problem in fact is you’ll want to do a handful of things to bring out the most accurate outcome. You’ll find there are perhaps many things that are contributing to your problem but are really only playing a minor role. You need to route out the core problem. One excellent method to do this is by the simple and old “Process of Elimination”.
Write up a list of areas where the core of the problem may be hiding and indicate as to whether there is, in fact a problem there. If there are more than one of you in your organization then get a few colleagues to do this as well. It’s almost like brainstorming however it is done individually and then the results are compared. As you analyze each possibility you can eliminate those that don’t seem as relevant as the next until you arrive at the core of the problem.
Problems are basically the things that aren’t functioning according to your plan. Why they aren’t functioning shows flaws in your system and requires a change.
The word problem itself is somewhat of a misnomer. It sounds so negative, drastic, alarming and disconcerting when really it is nothing more than a simple wrong turn that has recently been taken. All we need do is back up a few steps and create new and alternative paths utilizing our new found knowledge of our current problem as a guide. Before you do take the next turn be very sure to study the path from which you just came to enable you to take the best path possible.
Problems, if not identified and controlled can become a formidable enemy. If grasped and understood early enough then the power you can harness from identifying each problem will work for you rather than against you.
Next week I would like to talk in more detail about our mind abilities and its capacity to optimize creativity. Then we’ll start developing ideas the week after.
Understanding Your Mind Capacity and Building Creativity
Our mind capacity is something limited only by the amount of care and attention it receives (like anything – if you don’t look after it – it won’t work). Working 9 to 5 for 20 years for the same employer doing pretty much well the same thing not allowing “newness” into your life is a very good way to put a cap on your mind capacity.
What exactly do you mean by “mind capacity” Darren?
In a nutshell I’m talking about your;
- receptability to new concepts/ideas and ability to work with them making them viable and;
- ability to avoid the “logic trap” and look to unconventional solutions through a lateral thought process
You will probably find if you mix up your routine, play sport, or participate in a wide variety of clubs or organizations on a regular basis, travel a lot, meet many new faces etc. then you are really keeping your mind active and alert.
Your very nature is outgoing more than not. Therefore you soak more in from your environment as would someone who fits the above “20 years with the same employer” example. As you put more into your life you will get more back. It’s a natural by-product to be more open as a person taking in new concepts and ideas as you do.
The lethargic “vertical thinking” or otherwise known as the “logic trap” is an aspect – although helpful at times uses far less of your capacity than lateral thought ever will. Thinking unconventionally will always separate you from the crowd. This makes some nervous and presents itself as a challenge for others.
As you uncover your potential you will begin to become more creative. My dictionary defines creative as: “requiring intelligence and imagination, not merely mechanical skill”.
Your ideas are only as good as you make them so it is important to optimize your creative ability. A perfect example of this is the very well known brainstorming. When participating in a brainstorming session you will probably notice that no judgment is made during the half hour/hour session at all. The sole point of it is to let your creative mind wander putting your thoughts on paper as they come into your mind. We all know our mind races off at a speed our little writing fingers find almost impossible to keep up with so make sure the main points as a bare minimum are transcribed from your mind to paper!!! Later, when the session is finished can you then start to look at their potential by fine tooth combing the details. All ideas need a starting point. Be creative and start from the most advantageous position that you feasibly can.
I found with my last job it was very helpful having a simple notebook inside my shirt pocket with a pen beside it. From time to time something would pop into mind almost sub-consciously. I was in a position to capture this idea right there and then and develop it further later. On one occasion I was sitting in the pub waiting for a friend to turn up. I came across an idea during the short time I was there alone. I have now built my business around this one concept alone that I came up with at this time. It is, in part, responsible for my success to date.
When you really go to work on yourself you will train your sub-conscious to continue the path and occasionally come up with ideas that can be very beneficial to your cause. If you don’t capture these ideas as they happen then they may never pop back into your mind. Every idea is priceless as it has the potential to solve your problem. With such a powerful tool working for you around the clock it makes perfect sense to capture every idea as it happens.
If you’re in bed and you think of something for heaven’s sake don’t turn the light out and say “I’ll write it down in the morning”. You may lose it! If you don’t use it you lose it!
It’s so simple. Train yourself to be creative and reap the rewards…
Generating Ideas and Developing Solutions
Over the last two weeks we have been discussing how important it is to fully understand the problem so that you don’t go about trying to solve something different. We also tapped into the power of our mind and its ability to be creative. As a natural consequence today we’re finally going to get on with getting some ideas down on paper in the endeavor to solve those things requiring to be solved.
For those of you who have been subscribing to “AAvenues” for a while may be familiar with a popular article I wrote entitled “Top Ten Ways To Generate Brilliant Ideas” https://www.powerhomebiz.com/leadership-management/leadership/generate-brilliant-ideas.htm. It was printed by many publishers and it received many great reviews. I’m asking you now to call this article as it’s vitally important that you read and understand its principles to this weeks chapter on generating ideas and developing solutions.
The main point I want to concentrate on today is “Look At Parallel Problems & Solutions” (from the afore-mentioned article).
Relate your current problem to one that you had in the past and check for parallels between the two. The way(s) earlier problems were solved can assist you greatly in generating ideas to solve subsequent situations that present themselves.
Commonly known as experience. We are products today based on our decisions from yesterday. Through our own experiences we have ended up here together today. If you can relate your problem of today with that of earlier times and establish a nexus between them then you have given yourself a wicked headstart that you never would have had otherwise.
When I want to come up with an idea to potentially solve my situation I’ll sit down and work backwards for a start. I find having a solution in my head with a vivid vision brings life and animation to the task. All that needs to be done now is to bridge the gaps that must clearly be filled between the two points.
Developing a solution is not so hard when the task at hand is broken up into several sub-tasks. Headings such as who/what/ when/where/why are probably ample to get you into overdrive here. For example:
Who will be effected? What is the most desired outcome? When is our deadline? Where can it be done cost efficiently? Why does it need to be done?
Think laterally, think vertically, think logically. The best ideas will always come from groups working for the common goal. Give your group as much opportunity to be creative by listening twice as much as speaking. Do this as informally as possible and get past situations into the open.
You can then draw on the past successes and take them a step further with the challenge of today.
Why try to re-invent the wheel when it’s already been done? You’ve already invented your own wheel now for heaven’s sake make a couple of small adjustments and make your coach go faster instead of building a brand new one.
Measuring The Success of Your Ideas! Why Do/Don’t They Work???
Now that you’ve spent time developing solutions we need to find out how successful they are. i.e. do they work? Measuring the success of our ideas is vital. If something isn’t working it needs to be altered or everything’s for nought and goes down the tube.
As a follow-up to “Top Ten Ways To Generate Brilliant Ideas” I wrote “Ten Great Ways To Measure Valuable Ideas” which amazed me with its positive response. Both articles were written as a practical guide to exercising creativity and objectivity to critique ones results.
Recommended Books on Building Ideas for Success:
- Ideas For Small Business Success – Ideas And Business Opportunities For Your Business Found In The News (Business Lessons From The News)
- From Idea to Success: The Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network Guide for Start-Ups
- Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality
- The Law of Success In Sixteen Lessons by Napoleon Hill
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
About the Author:
marketing consultant at the helm of Topliving Consultancy. Visit his web site at http://topliving.com . Subscribe to Darren’s popular “Success and Self-Motivation” Weekly publication, “AAvenues 2 Your Success”. It’s packed with this sort of material each week.
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