Had any insightful conversations recently that just didn’t get traction but should have?  Here’s a process you can use once it’s time to move from talking to acting.


Name the insight — The insight that you gathered from your conversation needs a name. Naming makes ideas more real, gives them identity and creates more desire to invest. So…name the insight. When you do, integrate two ideas into the name: realism and optimism. In my book, Tribal Alchemy: Turning What You Have Into What You Need, I spend an entire section on the power and practice of naming.


Turn the “named insight” into a project and develop the project with key stakeholders–Bring key staff stakeholders together to turn the insight into a project. A project is simply a group of combined actions steps that, when put together, achieve a goal. There is something powerful about INCLUDING stakeholders in the development of the project and engaging them in its execution. Don’t solve all the problems yourself. Get a diverse group of stakeholders engaged. 


Get going — Delayed action may be as dangerous as no action. Once you’ve got the project in place, work it.


Make the name a “memory mantra” — During the pressure of the day, it’s easy to forget the insight or stop executing an important project. So turn the name of the insight or project into a mantra that you and others repeat during the day. Marketers know the power of a well-formed slogan. Put that idea to work for your projects. Make the name work by transforming it into a mantra that rallies attention and energy. Put the mantra/name where people can see it, keep it alive through meaningful repetition.


Sustain momentum — Think of your project as a balloon. You hit the balloon up with your hand,  and it moves upward. BUT, it soon loses energy and starts to come down. If you don’t hit it again, the balloon will land on the floor and stay there. You have to keep the balloon up in the air. You do this by,


  • Talking about the insight/project as you execute it
  • Encouraging stakeholders to share as they execute it
  • Focusing on the ACTION that needs to occur. (If you’re not doing something different, nothing different will happen)
  • Measuring progress
  • Discussing early results and strategically adapt when necessary (which will often happen five seconds in)


IMPORTANT: Now, you may look at the process above and think, “I know all this.” That would be the wrong thought to dwell on. Here’s a better question to consider:


How consistently am I doing it?