The road to business failure is paved with good ideas

There are many good ideas floating around. People who create ideas often guard them jealously. However, an idea without execution is just imagination. Our imaginations are powerful, so powerful that it can convince us that we’re doing something when we’re not actually producing any real results.

It is planning and execution that turn these ideas into reality.

I’m not a guy with many ideas. A good friend calls me unoriginal because I just copy his ideas.

Another friend likens business to the army:

  • Officers strategise. They instruct the unit to conquer a hill because of the location.
  • Specialists plan. They figure out how to flank the enemy at the hill.
  • Men execute. They are the ones who do the actual flanking.

I’m a specialist. I’m good at figuring out how to turn a strategy or idea into an actionable plan. I can initiate the execution, but I’m pretty bad at follow-up and improvising. When I have a plan, I stick to it. I find it hard to deviate from the plan, and I’m really bad at thinking on the spot.

However, on the flip side, when I’ve had time to think and plan, I can come up with a really comprehensive response. I go really deep in. That’s where I do my best work.

Knowing yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses is very important in figuring out how to always be doing your best work. I don’t spend much time working on my weaknesses. I’d rather be outstanding at what I’m good at than average in everything.

I learned this when I was in JC. Throughout my academic life, I’ve been weak in Mandarin. I was told that I needed to pass my Mandarin in order to make it to university. So I worked hard at Mandarin. I scored an F9 in my first year in JC, and Cs and Ds for my other subjects. In my second year, I scored F9 again at my second attempt at passing Mandarin. I was still struggling with my other subjects. After the second attempt, I made an important decision:

I would not study for Mandarin anymore.

Despite my best efforts, my grade sucked. So I was not going to put in any more effort into it. If I failed in my third attempt, so be it. I’ve tried my best and it wasn’t good enough. I was going to divert all that time and energy towards my other subjects.

For my ‘A’ Levels, I scored an E8 for Mandarin. Apparently not studying and randomly answering the questions improved the grade. I got an A in Chemistry, and a B in Physics and Mathematics. And I got into university, though I did have to attend a one-month Chinese camp.

This life experience taught me not to waste time and energy working on my weaknesses, but instead to focus on maximising my strengths.

Over time, I came to learn my strengths.

I’m not the one who comes up with ideas. I’m the one who figures out how to turn those ideas into action. I’m the one who initiates that action, but I’m not the one who improvises it.

I work with those whose strengths are to think of ideas and those whose strengths are to improvise on the fly.

I’ve summed up my Unique Ability as follows:

To listen to people’s ideas,
organise the information,
in order to create systems
that execute their plans.

If you’ve got an idea that you can’t seem to translate into action, talk to me.

As a holistic planner, I listen to my clients’ hopes and dreams. They’ve got all these wonderful ideas of how they want to live their lives. But they get stuck at the numbers, information, and details.

That’s where I take all their information and organise it to help them figure out where they are and where they want to go. Together, we work out a plan that gets them where they want to go. Then my team starts executing the plan.

There is no shortage of good ideas floating around, only a shortage of people who can turn those ideas into action.

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