Overcoming the Costs of Worry

How much must you polish a new idea before you can share it in your organization? How perfect must your Power Point slides be?  How redundant your connections to top management?  How detailed your diagrams?

As you polish, perfect, over-engineer and detail out your idea, the costs of worry pile up: lost time, opportunities and learning.

The costs climb and climb because worry breeds worry.  We know, yet we seem to forget, that our organizations don’t benefit from polished ideas.  They benefit from implemented ideas.  Said another way,  your idea doesn’t matter until you actually DO SOMETHING.

How can we overcome the costs of worry and start doing something new in our organizations?

Leaders: Set the playing field and then let people play.  “Any idea that costs less than $100 to implement and doesn’t impact project YZ can be implemented immediately without higher approval.”  Blanket permission is a beautiful thing!

Idea Generators: Create a playing field out of bare ground. “Boss, I’m going to work on problems related to project WXY.  I’ll only come to you with my ideas if my plans require Group 7 to do something new.  How’s that sound?”

All: Do all that you can to oppose/avoid/destroy the costs of worry.

Don’t create a Power Point presentation that no one would look at if you hadn’t forced them into a room for an hour.

Don’t plan for five different potential outcomes just to show you’ve really thought through the issue.  If your idea calls for one plan for one scenario, just say so and stop there.

Don’t become someone who induces worry in their peers or subordinates.  Talk about how you can make change and ask them what they think about the problem.  See what you’ll learn.

It’s not enough to come up with good ideas.  We must overcome the costs of worry.  Until we DO SOMETHING none of our worry matters.

Stop worrying and let’s drive change together.

Why not try?

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