So you have this great idea. You pitch it to your boss, and he loves it. You have the green light. So you return to your office thrilled and energized, ready to dig in. That is until fear, distractions, obstacles, naysayers, loss of interest, or frustration that your idea is not turning out as expected take up all your brain space. I get it, and I’m right there with you. I’m an idea guy. I love casting vision, creating something, and getting it out to people. And I have had my fair share of great ideas lost in the fray of everything else that needs to get done. But what if you could learn how to put a vision into strategy and action, launch a new initiative, and implement your idea successfully? For many leaders, ideas are not generally hard to come by, but navigating project management successfully to a perfect landing—that takes some skill and practice. Whether applied to business, ministry, or some hybrid of both, fully immersing yourself and your team into these five steps will eliminate confusion, uncertainty, and drastically reduce the chances of failure.
Discover – Identify the needs.
Any significant event or future vision must first consider the needs of your ministry. You might hear of a great idea from another leader or read something online, but far too often we forget to take a step back and first ask what does my ministry, my business, or my tribe need. The idea might be great, but it might not be the right idea for your group, or the right time, or even the right people to implement it.
So ask lots of questions and ask many people. Gather as much info as possible, then, before you start creating ideas, work to see how your ideas solve a problem or fill a need. Discovery is the breath that gives your vision life. Also, keep your eyes open. You never know where the next great idea is going to come from.
Design – What is your plan?
Ideas are great. They are even better when it is the exact idea that your church needs at that moment. It feels almost prophetic, it can’t lose, and let’s be honest, you are going to look like a genius. However, you and I both know what happens next. The idea stays an idea. The energy behind the idea eventually fades, and the daily routine takes over. You think to yourself, “I’ll get to that as soon as I finish this.” It sits on a note pad or sketched out on a whiteboard until the note pad gets buried and the whiteboard space is needed for something else that demands your immediate attention. Soon the idea is lost forever.
This happens because we don’t give our ideas legs to stand on. We don’t take the time to work out a design, a blueprint, or gameplan for how it will get done. Who is going to help? Are they onboard? What are your timeline, deadlines, and checkpoints? These are a huge piece. Even if you don’t really need a hard deadline, set it anyway. Think about when you want the entire project done and work backward. Identify smaller, more digestible deadlines. They’ll feel less daunting, and the consistent progress will keep you motivated.
Develop – What do you need to get the job done?
This is where the real work begins. It’s all fun and games to dream and write cool stuff on whiteboards. However, the development phase is where you get to determine how all this magic happens. Ask yourself, how much money it will take, what tools do you need, people you will need, and the skills they need to possess?
However, be ready. Because this is the part where the negative naysayers come in, this is the part where you might realize that your design has to be modified or additional money raised. Use the feedback to make your design better or get more people behind the project—but don’t let it discourage or stop you. Set the deadline for completion and hit it.
Deliver – Get it in the hands of the people
Whatever you are creating, get it in the hands of the people. It will feel so much like handing over your firstborn but do it anyway. People will love it! And yes, some will hate it. If you’re like me, you’ll even have moments of regret. Don’t. Beta testing will only make your idea stronger.
Be sure to have a plan for distribution, for marketing, and for data collection to analyze later. Consult marketing pros and social media gurus to help make the most of your efforts. Cast a wide net, see what sticks. Do more of what works and scrap what doesn’t. You spent a ton of time building something, do everything you can to get it to the people that need it.
Debrief – Did it work?
This is often the most overlooked part. We fail to go back and ask the tough questions. What were the successes? What were the failures and what is necessary to move forward? Consider your metrics for success. Hint: it’s not always about money. A good debrief is how we move forward, how we evolve, how we get better, stay current, and relevant.
So what idea do you have sitting in a notebook or whiteboard that has incredible potential? Take the idea to the next level and land the project. The world needs your idea.