From the Department of Don’t Get Ready, Get Started

When it comes to making a difference in the world, I am ever a disciple of Perry Klebahn, and try to live by his mantra of “Don’t Get Ready, Get Started”.  Better than any other, that phrase captures the essence of my philosophy of innovating.

I also take great inspiration from Harvard Business School Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter. Her writings and books provide great insight into the art and science of bringing cool things to life, and I find all of her teaching quite inspiring. My favorite is her essay Four Reasons Any Action is Better than None.

In my aspirational vision of a perfect world, Perry has this essay framed and hanging on the wall of his office at Stanford. Please give it a read. But for the sake of reminding me to keep going back to it, here are her four big points on why getting started beats getting ready:

  1.  Small wins matter
  2.  Accomplishments come in pieces
  3.  Perfection is unattainable anyway
  4.  Actions produce energy and momentum

Energy. Confidence. Momentum. These aren’t words you run across in most of the literature about innovation, whose authors are obsessed with creating the best (or most esoteric?) 2×2 innovation typology matrix. Or even a three-dimensional one. I am guilty as charged on that front. But for anyone who has engaged in the challenging endeavor of bringing something new into the world, you know that it’s much more about confidence and momentum than it is about where you sit on someone’s theoretical design thinking/strategic thinking/innovation thinking spectrum.

Okay that’s it for today. Stop reading this and get back to work! Get started and… GO!