How often do we sit through stirring session at a convention, trade show, meetings, civic event, or even a sermon at church without taking a single note or making a commitment to apply what you learned (or what your employer paid for)? Often (or maybe not), we create accountability for ourselves and engage others to help us with the follow through. We create tasks, agendas, to-do lists, and maybe event an entire plan around engagement.
What if there was a better way, one that allows you to learn, create, and engage a team with new ways of learning, growth, and activation to continually raise the bar? How could you possibly do this without looking like a "flavor of the month" manager?
At the Iowa Association of Business and Industry Annual Convention in Des Moines, IA on June 15, 2012, Jim Collins, the legendary author of Good To Great and Great By Choice gave what you could call a speech, presentation, pitch, or even a sermon to over 1,400 Iowa business leaders. While you found out that he is incredibly perceptive, disciplined, really likes Southwest Airlines, and has some fantastic insights on leadership and organizations, his urging to continue the conversation and push our own envelopes left us with ten tasks.
Jim Collins To Do List
1. Diagnostics at website - create pocket of greatness (http://www.jimcollins.com/tools.html)
2. Identify key seats and people on the bus - personal board of directors
3. Confront brutal facts - annual meeting on team. Fact only, not opinions
4. Focus on hedgehog. Anything fail the test?
5. Set 15-25 year big hairy audacious goal and zoom out
6. Commit to 20 mile mark to hit BHAG (creative 50% intellectual 30% other stuff 20%)
7. Practice productive paranoia - what can kill us and where is the gorilla? Put away enough to go without a job for a year
8. Get a high return on the next luck event
9. Discipline - to do list and stop list- Pocket of quiet every two weeks
10. Discover your purpose and what would be lost? Be useful.
So, you at least know I took the time to write them down - what next? Well, I started with #9... then back to #2. I've been working on Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen for the past two months and seen some strokes of success by just starting to breaking down and managing information by getting it out of my head. How does this relate to the Collins list? It is helping me with discipline by focusing on what matters, including knowing when to say "enough" and walk away from a task or project, but at least knowing it has a beginning, middle, and end with an outcome I'm expecting. For a concrete example on the success of GTD, I was able to improve my management and development of the first ABI/CliftonLarsonAllen Innovation Zone, where five promising start-ups earned the opportunity to attend the conference, pitch their products & services, and had Saturday Mfg., recognized as the Best of Show with sixty seconds in front of the crowd before Jim Collins took the stage. Yes, I could have done this all without GTD, but by getting it all out of my head, I was able to zoom in and out on areas of focus and importance as needed.
With #2, I've researched Dunbar's Number and used the premise of ability to manage quality relationships to tap a handful of friends to be that informal personal board of directors. They know where I've been, my failures, successes, and don't have a problem giving me the facts.
What next? I'm going to continue to work on #2 and #9, reporting to my personal board(s) (some who know it and some who don't) and then spend more time with the other tasks.
Check out his Good to Great Diagnostics Tools and more at his website.