How to Go From “Idea” to “Action:” Implementing Ideas in an Organization Successfully

There’s a common misconception about thoughts and ideas. Thoughts can be rapid and ephemeral – a thought is any little mental moment that occurs whenever you are thinking. An idea is something more complex and specific than a thought. An idea is a concept, a plan formed by mental effort in relation to solving a problem. An idea is a picture or image of the perfect outcome. Ideas are constantly being produced every day, but ideas are rarely implemented. Anyone can have a great idea, but what really makes the difference is how well you execute and implement that idea. It is important to put your ideas into action by effectively implementing ideas in your life and in your organization to gain competitive advantage.

“If you don’t make things happen then things will happen to you.” ~ Robert Collier

Idea Implementation: Guidelines for Effective Action
In order to implement an idea in the workplace you need to have a strategic plan to establish a smooth transition. People are often afraid of change, and tend to get comfortable in their routines. A good way to respect others’ boundaries is to determine when the change will be effective. Always give the organization and others an adequate notice before implementing an idea.

It is also important to stay focused when implementing your idea. Try to stay on target and avoid “scope creep” – don’t let additional ideas, no matter how great they might sound, get in the way of executing and reaching your primary goal. A good way to do this is by creating a list of tasks, and asking others for help. Getting employees or strategic partners on board will help build motivation and drive. Keep everyone in the loop at all times by providing as much relevant information as possible. It may sometimes be frustrating, but remaining patient is key, as well as continuing to explain the steps and vision of the Idea that is being implemented. You need to continue to achieve buy-in from all key stakeholders throughout the implementation process. Everyone on your team or in your organization who is going to be affected by this new idea is going to want to see how it makes their lives better – and getting buy-in is not a one-time “sales job” – you need to continue to keep people in the loop and keep selling them on the value of your idea. Keep reminding them of why this is important.

“Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” – Samuel Johnson

A great way to keep everyone on the same page is to include a step-by-step process for the organization so that everyone is onboard and focused to the goal. Not everyone is going to be super-savvy about the technical details of your idea, so you may have to lend a helping hand or provide training. Once a procedure is implemented, you can move onto the next phase and implement the next step.

Finally, ask for feedback and be open-minded to new ideas. If an employee announces an idea, reward them for their great feedback. Not everyone deserves a gold sticker, but let them know they are heard. Everyone should have the feeling of inclusion. It’s not just “your” idea – the idea truly belongs to the organization and to everyone who champions its success.

One more thing: when you reach your goal and achieve whatever successes were promised by the implementation of your idea, be sure to celebrate! Showing appreciation and sharing the thrill of achievement with fellow employees will go a long way to help enhance camaraderie and friendship. Also, enjoying a sense of celebration gives the team a stronger incentive to do it all over again.

Companies in all industries are increasingly becoming “idea factories” – whoever can discover, implement and capitalize on the best ideas the fastest will be the winners in their markets and industries in the years ahead. This is true in plastic recycling as well as technology or traditionally “creative” fields – we all need to constantly look for ways to build efficiencies and create more effective ways of working. But good ideas are a dime a dozen – the real value comes from knowing how to put ideas into action.

What was the last great idea you implemented at your organization? Or what is your favorite story from the business world about why it’s so important to execute a great idea? Leave a comment and let us know!