Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Catalyst Recap: Scott Belsky (Lab 3, April 21/General Session, April 23)

Scott Belsky’s lab session was a torrent of information. I’ll give you some of the highlights from my view. By way of background, Belsky founded Behance, which helps creative people get things done. That was his focus (and he just wrote a book: Making Ideas Happen).

A major issue creative people face is actually following through on their ideas. They get bored and jump to another idea. While this will challenge creatives, his charge is to do less, but see your few things through to completion. Each year one of the top three businesses for their management and supply structure is Apple. They’re known for their creativity, but that’s because they make their ideas happen. Several half-developed ideas (from my notes, not Belsky’s brain) are to follow. Let me know if you have any questions on them, but I hope there will be something that grabs you as useful for making more of your ideas happen. These are the ones that caught my eye.

His key equation was: Creativity/Ideas + Organization/Execution + Communal Forces + Leadership Capability = Making Ideas Happen.

Ideas. You’ve got this down.

· Don’t let today trump tomorrow. A key idea that I’ve already put into practice is ‘windows of non-stimulation.’ For the first chunk of your day, focus on long range project you’re passionate about before you get sucked into the vortex of your email Inbox. I’ve only been doing it a week and it’s already made a difference in my efficiency.
· Spend energy on staying organized.
· Organize with a bias towards action. When you’re in a meeting, new ideas are going to pop up. Don’t go after those ideas and lose focus. Put them on a “Backburner List” and get to them later. It might be a great idea worth chasing. And then create a process to either cull things from the list or turn them into action steps.
· Measure a meeting in action steps. If there’s no actionable point(s), it was a waste of time. (Not sure I totally agree with this, but the basic premise is important).

Communal Forces
· Partner with people different from you. Dreamers need “Doers” and “Incrementalists.”
· Share your ideas liberally so when people ask you about them, you’ll know it might be worth pursuing.
· Share ownership of ideas. It may not go exactly how you want, but it will be a better product. The benefit will outweigh the costs.
· When an idea is in process, decide your ‘sacred extreme’ and be willing to compromise on the rest.

Leadership Capability
· If you’re the leader, talk last. It lets your team engage and express their passion. And who knows what you’ll learn!
· Develop others through appreciations. You don’t have to highlight what they didn’t do well so much as praise what you liked. They’ll highlight that next time and the other issues will often fade.
· Judge (and hire) based on initiative (not experience). Find people that are eager to get things done and chase their dreams.

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