Making Ideas Happen
Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality
This is the book I was inspired to read after reading Managing Your Day to Day which was recommended by my brother Dave. I love this crazy adventure of books and bunny trails!
Making Ideas Happen is written for creatives – specifically people whose job it is to be creative, which is Not Me, but sometimes it is good to see life from a completely different angle than what you normally would.
Creative people often are by nature unorganized – part of the wonderful package of a typical artistic type – ideas flow freely, but the follow through that is required for ideas to become reality does not always come as easily. Which is a shame, because creative people have some great ideas.
Creative people do not need help generating ideas. They do that day and night and do it well. What they need help with is the follow through. This book answers that problem amazingly well.
The author contends that three things – the action method (a specific structure developed by the author and others for setting ideas up for success), relying on others for feedback and leading the creative team well – are the keys to seeing ideas through to actual results. The author has made it happen in his own career and personal life and helped many other creatives make it happen time and time again in their own careers and personal lives. He also has stories about other successful creatives which are very fun to read.
I won’t be restructuring my career around the ideas in this book because, you know, I treat and prevent, which is pretty straight forward, and inherently structured and non-creative, but I do have a dash of creativity involved in other areas of my life (We all do I bet) so I was able to glean quite a bit of exciting and useful information from the book.
Some of my favorite parts…
Create action steps for every project. I loved this whole idea – As you know if you have ever had to work with me (or live with me) I write EVERYTHING down. If I see a cute pet, I write his name down. If I like a candle scent, I write the scent down. If I have a book I might want to read, a topic I might want to write about, an interesting quote I heard…The kicker is everything I write down is in sequential order based on when I heard it or thought of it in my notebooks. I would not even be that organized if Kelly hadn’t gently taken my post-its away about two years ago and handed me a notebook. If I were to organize everything in those (now several) notebooks by the author’s action plan suggestion…woo! Who KNOWS what awesome things might come of it?
“Measure meetings with actions.” ”In most cases, leaving a meeting without anything actionable signifies that the meeting was just an information exchange and should have taken place over e-mail.” (page 78) Actually all I have done with this point is develop a snarky attitude about our latest team meeting. I do enjoy team meetings for two reasons -
- As an introvert and a people lover, if I have a structured environment in which to spend time with coworkers, that is more comfortable to me than a party or dinner, so meetings are a time for me to check in with everyone and make sure everyone is doing ok.
- I work with less than half of the Gentle Doctor team, so if I did not see the rest at team meetings, I would not ever see them.
So even without concrete actions to carry out after every meeting, I do feel as though they have value. The point is well taken though – a meeting should have a distinct purpose with actionable steps for team members to take afterwards.
“Reconsider your amount of ‘insecurity work.’” Checking Twitter…checking email…checking stats. When I write, I do this constantly! I have made it a goal to singletask as much as I can this year. Along those same lines, I am going to double my efforts and try to reduce my amount of insecurity work. I say I don’t have time to write, but I could get tons written if when I did sit down to write, I singlemindedly wrote with purpose instead of wandering aimlessly through the internet!
And perhaps my favorite part of all, what I have said all along for puppy training, and have said for the last several years in interacting with people – Celebrate and encourage others’ strengths, and do not dwell on weaknesses.
In explaining this method of feedback, the author quotes Jay O’Callahan, who said, “If our eyes are always looking for weakness, we begin to lose the intuition to notice the beauty.” I love it.
You will love this book. Everyone has a creative streak, even the most scientific among us. Everyone has ideas. It is the rare person who can see their ideas through to actual products. Scott Belsky gives us the tools to get there.