One of the best things I’ve learned in the past year is the difference between great ideas and great stewardship.
I read Scott Belsky’s Making Ideas Happen and an excerpt from John Maeda (Rhode Island School of Design) challenged the way I think. Simply stated, most ideas never happen…they die as ideas, nothing more. But the ideas that actually push industries forward are a result of masterful stewardship.
Meaning, the ideas that are actually brought to life are the only ones that have a chance of making a difference. Every other idea we ever have that doesn’t materialize never even holds a remote possibility of bringing impact or change–no matter how great the idea.
But stewardship is the single biggest difference between an idea becoming reality or not. Doesn’t matter how you argue it. Those who learn to steward opportunity, resources, time, energy, people well, they’re the ones who bring ideas to life. Think through your list of that-is-someone-I-want-to-spend-more-time-with-because-they’re-really-good-at-what-they-do, almost every single one of them is good at making things happen. And it’s because they’ve discovered how to bring things to life through stewardship of whatever it is they have access to and control over.
I don’t know anyone who has sustained their platform or brought lasting change by simply generating ideas. Not even the best consultant can make that last, nor would want to. It’s not satisfying.
Bottom line for me. To say, “I’m an idea guy” may possibly be the worst line in history. If what you mean is “I’m a visionary,” I get that. But to say you’re the “idea guy”…who never brings anything to life, no thanks.