We live in a period of history where there are a lot of cutting edge, industry changing, “brilliant” strategies or innovations that are hitting the B2C and B2B landscapes. I am literally writing this essay on a west coast flight, on my laptop connected to my Gmail account and listening to music on my I-Phone… lots of brilliant innovations there! Unfortunately this essay isn’t about any of those wonderful innovations that were executed so well, but on the dynamic between the quality of the idea, ranging from Poor-> Good->Great-> Brilliant, and the executional success of that idea also ranging from Poor to Brilliant. I have the chance in my consulting practice to work with a wide variety of clients that are often developing brilliant strategies that deeply under-optimize their potential due to a poor execution. I have a growing point of view that rather then focusing on the most “brilliant” of ideas and innovations, organizations can really benefit from being centered on “good” ideas then focusing on ways to make the execution of those “good” ideas “brilliant”!
I had the chance to see this idea/approach brought to life last week. Since 2014 I have had the pleasure to work with and advise an exciting Tech Startup in Atlanta. Their business is starting to scale and the annual trade show for their primary vertical was last week in Las Vegas. As they prepared for the show, we had a work session where we used a simple “destination document” to guide what their objective for the show was and thus their core communication points and plan. Very quickly the team became focused on “qualifying leads” as the central objective for the trade show and developed a lofty/ambitious objective for how many “qualified leads” they wanted to secure (via a simple app supplied by the trade show folks) at the show. So far, nothing break-though, just a simple (“good”) plan that needed exceptional execution for success; well as a guy that’s probably been to 25+/- trade shows over my career, it was impressive and delightful to see their executional intensity!
The small team was divided into two sections, one group worked the front line, “attracting” as many trade show attendees as possible. Using a simple set of 3-4 questions (role in the industry, size, legacy technology platform, compatibility) the “attractors” would identify “qualified” leads, scan their badges, and then try to move them into the second group who were educating, running simple demos and working to close the sale. Again a very simple two-team approach, using just a few questions (with lots of smiles and handshakes) and a few I-pads to do the demos (along with a totally kick-ass video-wall that was the talk of the tradeshow) totally won the day! The team came away beating their objective for scanned qualified leads and even had prospective customers paying deposits in the trade show booth to insure their spot on the implementation calendar. Each day was finished with a "Curbside debrief", truly exceptional execution and results!!
While this story/example is very recent, I encourage you to think about other examples from your career of initiatives with truly exceptional results. Ask yourself whether they were brilliant ideas executed adequately, or good ideas executed brilliantly. My money is on the latter, and I suggest that we could all benefit from learning or re-learning this lesson demonstrated beautifully on the Las Vegas tradeshow floor last week!