Stop Failing at Idea Execution: Here's How

April 10, 2019

Have you ever had an idea you just did nothing about, only to find out later someone else had a similar idea and executed it with great results?  This has happened to me many times.  I am sure this is something everyone experiences at some stage.  It only becomes a problem when a trend develops where you rarely implement your brilliant ideas.

Stop Failing at Idea Execution

So why don’t you implement your ideas?  What holds you back?  Fear of failure is almost always right up there amongst the top reasons why people fail at idea execution.   However many times people don’t implement ideas, simply because they do not know where to start.

Successful Idea Execution Starts by Defining Your Preferred Outcome

Successful idea execution starts with the definition of your preferred outcome.  Defining your preferred outcome, determine the direction and actions of the next phases in this process.

Have a brainstorming session either with yourself or with potential team members, answering the following questions:

What is the benefit?

Who will benefit from implementing your idea?

What do you want to achieve?

What should the ideal outcome look like, feel like, sound like.

What change do you want to bring about?

Write down your thoughts on each of these questions as you work through them.  Create a written preferred outcome statement you can refer to as you move along the process of executing your idea.  The written preferred outcome statement will inform the next step in idea execution.

Successful Idea Execution Depends Through Research of Your Idea.

Researching your idea means you find alignment between the actual need and your defined preferred outcome.  You find this alignment by answering the following questions:

Who will you impact?

What makes your solution unique?

Why would it be important to realize this idea?

Do people actually perceive the same need for change?

 Successful Idea Execution Rely on Good Advice

You do not know everything.  Accept that and make peace with it.  You will need to ask advice.  Getting advice is an important part of the execution process.  You must however be careful whose advice you choose to listen to and follow. There are two types of “advisors” you need to be careful of.


Dream-stealers are people who will immediately give you good reasons why you should not act on your idea. They will focus on the insurmountable risks and all the potential problems you may encounter along the way. They will leave you feeling dejected and discouraged. Dream-stealers will steal your energy and motivation by only focussing on the negative.  They seldom have any suggestions on how to address the potential problems, they so eloquently highlight.


Yes-men on the other hand will immediately agree with everything you say and will motivate you to go ahead and act upon your idea.  Their advice is often not objective and they ignore possible problems and risks. They motivate you to the point of implementing your idea and will give you all the answers they think you want to hear.  This unfortunately leaves you vulnerable and ill-equipped when problems do arise.

“Objective Advisors”

Objective Advisors will constructively highlight risks and possible problems. They are constructive in their analysis of the situation, because they also offer suggestions to manage potential risks and avoid possible problems. Through their advice and response to your idea, they objectively inspire courage, instead of just hyping up emotions. They give honest feedback without trying to give you the right answer they think you want to hear.

Once you are certain you have all the necessary information to align your idea outcome with the perceived need, you need to start building your team and create your support structure.

Successful Idea Execution Garner Support

Making your idea public is an important part of the idea execution process.  By sharing your idea with other people you potentially get them excited about it too.  By getting people excited about your idea, you also start to generate support from more people than just yourself.

You will need momentum to move your idea towards implementation and the best way to build momentum is to get as many people as possible excited about the idea.  This will form your support structure through the rest of the process and when the going gets tough.

Once you have enough people excited you can start to build your project team.  The idea now evolves from just an idea to being a potential project with a start and end date, delivering on the preferred outcomes you wrote down at the beginning.  You are now ready to move to phase two of the successful idea execution process covered in next week’s post.

About the author

Joseph Hawking has a passion for people & leadership development and since he discovered his mom’s old typewriter as a boy, have been writing in some form or another. He is part of the Leadership for The International Mentoring Network, where he is a regular Idea Studio Facilitator and Annual IMN Conference Speaker. He believes that the highest form of living is using what you have been blessed with, to add value to other people’s lives. He has been publishing The Leadership Connexion blog since August 2018.