Long time friend and idea-maker, Charles Lee has finally released his first book “Good Idea, Now What“. Charles is a guy who has great ideas but he also is great at implementing them. Charles has been helping people around Southern California for years and now travels around the country coaching and consulting. I was able to catch up with him on the “Internets” (that’s tech speak for email) about his latest project.
1. What makes your book different than others about ideas?
There are definitely a growing number of idea books out there. Many of them
dive deeply into one area of idea-making. This book is unique in that it provides a
grand aerial view of the overall process while providing bite-size actions steps in
each section for implementing concepts well.
I see this book complimenting all the other idea books that are out there by
providing a good grasp of the overall process while not sacrificing the “how
to”s. Furthermore, I wrote this for the on-the-go idea-maker in mind. It’s written
in short, principle-driven chapters that are meant to be understood and evoke
action. If you don’t need 10 stories to get the point, this book is for you! It’s
designed to keep you moving.
2. What’s the hardest part about ideas?
I think the hardest part about ideas is getting started. Far too many people get
stuck in their fears and irrational reasons for not launching. The truth is that we
don’t need to have everything figured out before launch. In fact, it’s impossible to
even know all of the questions we should be asking prior to launch. Hypothetical
or irrational concerns too often get in the way of idea-making. Ideas come to life
in real-life scenarios. Wisdom is usually found while we’re in motion.
3. Would you call yourself an “idea guy”? Do they exist?
Yes and no. Yes, I love ideas so I suppose I am an “idea guy”. Nevertheless, I do
my best not to be just an “idea-lover”. I want to live life as an “idea-maker”. I don’t
just love ideas, I’m committed to making them come to life. Ideas alone can’t
change things. Action trumps theory.
4. What’s your secret to move from idea to implementation?
I’m not sure if it’s a secret, but here are some initial thoughts:
I think it begins by creating a discipline of documentation. It’s important to
document the development of a concept. It will provide a reference point to go
back to as you continue in your idea-making journey. Writing things down like
vision, objectives, and plan will often result in refinement and much needed
clarity. Furthermore, it will allow others to engage your ideas at a deeper level
than just talk.
Secondly, a big part of idea-making is being aware of your own personal work
rhythm. Recognizing and leveraging the most creative and productive moments
of your day are keys to implementation. If possible, work on your passions when
you’re most focused. Don’t lose those precious moments of productivity by filling
it with other distractions.
Thirdly, work on creating a process for refinement, evaluation, and
experimentation. The idea you start with will rarely be the idea you end up
with. In other words, it will evolve. Think infrastructure and systems that allow for
growth as much as you think specific steps for a creative process. Architecting a
great environment will often go longer than blind allegiance to steps.
Fourthly, find others to partner with in your endeavor. Most great ideas
can’t be implemented alone. Who will you work with and how? Working through
collaborative opportunities is vital to your success.
Be clear, upfront, and honest in your engagements with others. Fear of hurting
the other person’s feeling during conflict will ultimately be detrimental to the idea.
Set clear expectations (in writing) and work on communicating regularly.
Lastly, stay agile and don’t loose sight of your overall goal. Remember what
matters most to you at the end of the day. Is the idea you’re engaging consistent
with what matters most to you? How will you know if you’ve been successful? Do
you have this written down anywhere?
The book itself will go into far more detail about some of these points.
5. What’s the best way to manage fear about a new idea?
Doing is a great way to remove fear around an idea. You don’t have to start BIG.
Rather, launch lean with minimal features and then build upon it by listening to
your customers and stakeholders. Give yourself permission to “experiment” with
the core concept while transparently asking for input during your alpha or beta
phase. It is far better to launch with 80% of an idea developed than it is to sit on
95% and never launch.
6. In your book you mention Karate Kid and Fight Club, what’s going on here?
Ha! You’ll have to read it.
7. You talk about day planning/scaffolding – How do you find that helps with
It’s vital for idea-makers to become self-aware of their optimal rhythm for
productivity. Knowing when you’re at your best creatively and then guarding
those windows of time throughout the day can be a game-changer for most. Too
often, people fill those idea-making moments with mindless activities or less-
than-energizing activities (e.g., emails, meetings, phone calls, etc.). Learning
when to focus is key to getting stuff done.
Check out Charles Lee’s Book: Good Idea, Now What – Get it at Amazon.com
Connect with Charles on Twitter