One World Atlast has been two years in the making, and is based on nearly 60 years of expertise working with leaders in all walks of life to affect collaborative change. The first thing I would say to you all is that great ideas are not so uncommon, working with others to ensure they come to fruition is.
I wish in many ways that I knew two years ago, what I know today, about social media and developing sites such as the One World Atlast site. As a result of the learning and sharing I have done with some very talented people, I might do things differently.
BUT I had to go the journey with others, to develop the expertise I now have, so when One World Atlast goes into its next iteration, a few years from now, it will be better than it is today.
It’s taken clarity, determination, trial and error, learning and failing and trying again. It hasn’t been easy. So, here are my big tips from many years of working with other organisations, individuals and leaders, and again, going the journey myself recently with One World Atlast.
1. The idea is not as important as the problem it solves or the opportunity it addresses; it’s a common mistake to try and oversell an idea rather than the gap the idea fills. It’s incredibly important to work this through with trusted others. Watch out for ‘rah rah’ leadership.
2. Build purpose with others; just because you have the starting idea doesn’t mean your idea is actually the best it can be. I have overwhelming evidence that ideas improve with dialogue, feedback and collaboration; even the artist learns how to evolve their skill with the guidance of a valued teacher and ultimately, the undeniable feedback of a sale. No sale, no income. You can hold on to your virtuous dream but if no one else agrees with you, you better have a dedicated sponsor.
3. If your idea or dream needs others to come to fruition, then take the time to agree on how you want to work together NOT what you know or your individual expertise. Curiously, that’s easy to identify, whether you like each other or share common values is harder, yet this level of insight is what makes for effective long term collaboration – what you value is valued by others.
4. Plan before action; everyone knows the old adage – failing to plan is planning to fail. It is so trite and so utterly true. Planning requires discipline and forethought. You have to identify the pillars that support your vision, that connect the future to the present. Glossing over this simply sets you and others up for expensive energy consuming falls.
5. Practice paying attention to what others are feeling, not assuming you know. Look at people’s faces, think carefully about what they are feeling and how this is affecting their thinking. Emotions matter.
6. Invest in learning about yourself – a good leadership coach in the early stages of an endeavour can make a world of difference.
7. Understand politics; it’s not always a dirty word (tho’ often); high political intelligence is about being aware of the landscape into which you are ‘birthing’ an idea; who has influence, who controls resources, who else is doing what you want to do, how will you reach these ‘others’ so they see and understand what you are trying to achieve.
8. Don’t be lazy about your health – it is everything; everyone needs down time, rest, good food, a laugh, loads of loving support, and time to think of nothing. Often people trying to give birth to an idea, spread themselves too thin and pay for it by being sick or losing steam.
In the end, fighting for something you believe in, value, have a passion for is a wonderful way to live a life. For the person who starts an idea, and for all those who join as if it were their own.
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