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Decision Making Model

Got Too Many Ideas?

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I recently attended the “Ideas Boston 2012” conference at UMASS Boston.

The conference brought together some of the most creative and award winning speakers who discussed their current projects as well as their thoughts on creativity.  One of the speakers was David Cancel, an entrepreneur who co-founded companies like CompeteGhostery and Performable, and who currently works at Hubspot.

David described how he has many creative ideas running through his head at any given time. Projected on to the screen behind him was the quote “ideas are worthless.” This premise shocked many of us in the audience who were there to get ideas and who brought the attitude that ideas were what got us interested in the conference. As he continued his presentation he described what he meant to convey with the quote. He spoke about his belief that it is much more important to “do something with the ideas you have.”  He cited a quote by Thomas A. Edison which was “Vision without execution is hallucination.”

David believes that we should get in the habit of “Less thinking, and more doing.”  He encouraged the audience to “get out of your head, and start doing things.”

David’s presentation struck a cord for me, because I have many ideas and could not possibly act on all of them. While I agree that taking action is an important part of seeing your ideas come to fruition, I also believe that you need a thought process that helps you decide to act, or not, on the ideas. Obviously, one should not act on all of their ideas, and many people, like me, have a need for a thorough vetting process, to develop an idea before actually acting on it. It is simply not my way of doing things to just act on my ideas.

I think where most people fail to execute on bringing their ideas to fruition is their inability to make decisions. So, in an effort to help people with this challenge, I’d like to share one model of decision making for ideas which I give as my gift to you for the new year.

Decision Making Model for Ideas

1. Decide on the idea, and any goal or action you want to take, being as specific as you can

2. Decide on the priority of this action in your life. Is this is a must do, should do, or will do when I get around to it?

3. Think through and list the danger/consequence of not completing this goal

4. If there are several options, think through what will happen if each option is chosen. Try to visualize both the best, and worst-case scenarios. As best you can-estimate the likelihood of each outcome, and pay close attention to how you feel about each option.

5. Think about what might get in the way of success, and how will you deal with it?

6. Decide on a date and time when it will be completed

7. Detail how you will reward yourself for success along the way?

Contributors to Success of the Model

Keep in mind that you need to stay focused so build these contributors to success into your work:

  • Make sure you work on this at a specific time and a place where you will not be distracted.
  • Make sure you have someone who will hold you accountable
  • Realize that it’s okay to change goals if you realize, over time, that they are unattainable or not realistic

Best of luck in 2013!

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