Movement, not Planning.
Want to be successful? Get your product or service out there now, not after you’ve refined it and made it good. The MBA programs are wrong. Get moving.
Facebook sucked when it first went live and changed almost daily.
Google was a bare bones search engine called BackRub in 1996 and was still simplistic when it became Google in September 1998.
The Denver “T-Rex” redo of the entire highway system was 25% completed and open for traffic before the design was even completed.
The only way to learn how to run a four-minute mile is to first run something much slower, in public.
To learn to ride a bike, first, fall off.
Committed Movement – It’s never how good your plan is that counts, but how committed you are to moving on the bad plan you’ve got.
Purposeful Direction – We don’t need to know HOW we’re getting to our objective, we just need to know what our objective is, and the next few steps in the right direction to get there. Purposeful Direction is not about having things figured out first, but simply knowing with utter clarity where you want to end up.
Committed Movement In a Purposeful Direction is more critical to success than anything else.
There is a fundamental lesson about life and business in the above statement, and how we take that lesson on board makes us either very successful, very average, or a real shipwreck.
Successful people understand that planning is like a rudder; it’s useless without movement. Highly successful people have a very clear, transformational understanding of the relationship between movement and the rudder.
If you get your relationship right between these two, it will transform your life and your business as well. If you don’t, you’ll stay grounded on your sandbar and wonder why your life never had the impact you’ve always known it can.
The idea of massive pre-planning before you start seems to be a very sound practice, but only in concept and in business school. The problem is it just doesn’t match up with the reality of what actually makes for a successful business.
In the last three years I have watched four different companies go through the whole focus group/product development/perfect rollout process that most MBA programs and books about success would tout as the right way to do things. They all failed. I’ve seen others become successful by just getting moving in a small way like Facebook, Google, eBay, the sticky note, the television, the car, the internet, the steam engine, and all parents, all of which had a better chance of success by releasing the product before it was ready then by perfecting it first.
A controlled experiment in the real world
The key is to do it with very few customers who love you and want to work with you to make it what it will someday become. Reality is a much better laboratory for business than the laboratory. Customers are a much better focus group than a focus group. And a small rollout to the faithful is much less expensive and more informative then the balloons and parade approach.
We went through many iterations of paid workshops and mastermind concepts for three and half years before we arrived at 3to5 Clubs, which are now spreading on four continents. But we did it in small groups where perfection wasn’t necessary and everyone of the faithful were served with our existing but under-developed product.
Speed, not Planning
Success is much more closely related to Speed of Execution than to in-depth planning, because most planning is done in a vacuum prior to actually producing anything. Only after the plan hits the real world do we find out that it doesn’t work in that real world.
In the face of that reality and all the evidence we have that massive pre-planning is a waste of time, we keep trying. We can’t help ourselves. Hope springs eternal. In the meantime the Facbooks, Googles, and T-Rexs of the world are in their boats running flat out and heading for open water while we’re still trying to decide how to build the rudder.
Man has yet to devise a great way to plan in the absence of movement. The painstaking detailed analysis we are all taught to do before we move is almost always of little value because it never works out the way we had hoped. And as a result it never saves us the time and money it was supposed to. Instead it usually costs us precious time getting started, puts us behind someone else who has decided to get moving, and creates soaring costs down the road.
Practice, not Perfection
Always roll out your product or service long before it is ready, before your website is done (we only had a holding page for the first 18+ months). Just do it in a controlled but very real and “live” environment where the feedback you get is from real live bullets – people deciding to pay with real money and giving you feedback on how to get better.
Get out of the lab and into the real world. Tom Watson, founder of IBM said, “Test fast. Fail Fast. Adjust Fast.” I would say get out into the real world and just keep practicing to get better all the time.