Last week’s blog was about the benefits of brainstorming and the away day. Away days are absolutely brilliant as they allow you to vocalise and plan so much great stuff in a very short space of time. Ideas begat ideas that begat even more ideas.
But of course, the risk is that you end up back in the office fighting with a backlog of emails and phone messages and your ideas stay put on the flip chart. Not helpful at all.
So here are my tips for turning brainstorming into the most powerful implementation plan you’ve ever seen …
On the day;
• Create an action plan – prioritise all your ideas and group them into key timescales. Eg, By the end of this month. By Easter. By July. By the end of the year.
• Photograph your flip charts – it’s easy with a smart phone or iPad
• Convert your flipchart images into a useable document using an ‘App’ – I use ScanPages – so that you have a legible A4 format that works on your desk
When you get back to the office;
• Allocate a chunk of time to managing and organising your output from the day – don’t just plough headlong into the first thing
• Initially, allocate a time in your diary to review each project that emerged from the brainstorm – give yourself at least 90 minutes to capture the ideas properly, and to work out what you are going to need to do to bring the project in. Overview first, then detail
• Be really clear that you understand why each project is important to you and how it will move you closer to your goals – that will help you keep up the momentum and energy
• Work on one project implementation at a time. Don’t try to land them all at once – even Heathrow doesn’t try to do that!
• Break the project into 90 minute chunks and allocate the sessions to your diary. Even Rome was built one brick at a time.
• Ask yourself, who is going to help? Do you need to brief a supplier or delegate to someone? The sooner tasks are off your desk the better!
• Maintain momentum – you don’t want your brilliant away day to end up being a pile of flip chart sheets in the corner of your office
• Set deadlines –and be true to them. If you don’t mind watching you goals evaporate, no-one is going to stand in your way!
Remember, implementation is everything.
Someone said to me the other day that he saw me as someone who ‘makes sh*t happen!’. I took that as a compliment! I reckon it’s because I’m very driven to see my ideas come alive and get frustrated at lack of progress. I’m as prone to procrastination as the next man – believe me!! – so I set up systems to make sure I don’t become a victim to it, or allow myself to be the saboteur of my own dreams.
Let me know how you get on with your away day and follow up.