How Good Is Your Next Big Idea?

“Without everyone embracing what we want to do, we haven’t got a prayer.” – Jack Welch

The Big Idea is your strategy for growing and improving your business. It’s your particular take on how to do something faster/quicker/smarter/cheaper/better.

Is your Big Idea clear to you? Or are you a little befuddled about it? If you don’t quite know what your Big Idea is, how do you expect your followers to understand it?

If you want to lead — to become wealthy and wise — you need an imagined treasure. You need to see its richness in your mind and communicate that richness to others. You’ve got to do that and also come up with a treasure map. Not necessarily a detailed map, but a plan that points your people in the right direction.

Your Big Idea must be desirable. It must offer benefits to you, your customers, and your employees. It must also be appropriate. It must reflect your company’s capabilities, as well as its particular strengths and weaknesses — and the plan to achieve it should take advantage of your product’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

If your Big Idea is good and your map to make it happen is sensible, you will succeed.

The market will ultimately determine if your Big Idea works, but you should test it first — before you spend a lot of time and money on it — by explaining it to a small group of trusted advisers.

Assemble two or three colleagues with significant and relevant experience. (You may know such people already. Or you may have to go out and look for them.) Bring them together in person or by phone. Explain your Big Idea as succinctly as possible. Then sit back and listen to them. Don’t object to their comments or defend your perspective. Take notes.

Then think about it for a few days. Chances are you will make some significant and important revisions to your Big Idea based on what these advisers had to say. If you do, send personal notes to all of them thanking them for their help and explaining (in general terms) how you plan to modify your plan. Tell them you’ll let them know if it works.

Next step is explaining your New and Revised Big Idea to your key employees. Ask for their comments and note what they say. Take another few days to think about it. Then make whatever changes are still needed and thank them for their input.

Now you are ready to put your Big Idea into action. You will do so with a great deal of confidence and energy because of all the extra refining you’ve done.

(And next time someone asks you what your Big Idea is, you’ll have a ready and strong answer.)