“Stop waiting. Start doing!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Futurist Jim Carroll is running a series that began November 27, 2023, and will end on January 1, 2024 – ’24 Strategies for 2024.’ Rather than running a trend series for the upcoming year as he has previously, this series will examine a number of his personal beliefs on how to best align yourself with the future. There will be a post each weekday, excluding weekends and holidays, until the series runs its course. You will find it on his blog at https://blog.jimcarroll.com, or on the website https://2024.jimcarroll.com
Get stuff done.
That’s all you need to do.
That’s strategy #24 of this 24 Strategies for 2024 series.
As the shoe people said, ‘just do it.‘
When former US President Barack Obama was asked to share his most important career advice for young people, he replied… “Just learn how to get stuff done.” It’s a simple yet powerful answer. You can talk about things all day; you can talk about all the trends you want; you can suggest all the ideas that you can imagine; but if you can never put into action the pathway they suggest for you, then you are essentially failing. As the description states on the video, “the power lies not in what you say, but in what you do.”
Each year, I summarize my thoughts for the coming year in my list of ’10 Great Words’ – it goes back to 2006 in my original 10 Great Words post, which can be found at https://10greatwords.jimcarroll.com. Go back and read the original document – at that page or within this PDF:
Over the years, this document has proven to be a powerful motivator – it’s often downloaded from my site. I also use the words to close many a keynote – it’s the action oriented part of my final message to my audience. I first began using the list in 2009 with this wonderful keynote I gave in Las Vegas right after the global economic meltdown of 2008:
Check out the 10th and final word: Do.
Do. Renew your sense of purpose, and restore your enthusiasm for the future by taking action.
Too many organizations, and the people who work within them, are on autopilot.
They go into work each day, and do the same things they did the day before, with the belief that everything today is the same as it was yesterday.
Action is the best reaction!
I seem to hammer of this theme of action-oriented action each year. Last year, my 10 Great Words for 2023 – posted on January 1, 2023 – provided this list of great worlds for the coming year:
Check word #9 – Act.
(I will be providing my 10 Great Words for 2024 tomorrow – stay tuned!)
What happens if you don’t act, fail to do, and let inaction drive your action? You fail, you fall behind, you fail to move forward! Remember – “power lies not in what you say, but in what you do.” With that in mind, these are executives from the Business Indecision Hall of Shame, ruminating on their lost opportunities as a result of their inability to get stuff done.
Today, they are busy thinking about what might have been if they had only chosen to ‘get stuff done.’ Instead, they are ashamed of their inaction, embarrassed by their loss of momentum, and truly appalled by their indecision.
Get stuff done!
It’s the most important thing you need to do – and that’s why this is Strategy #24 of my 24 Strategies for 2024 series. “Stop Waiting. Start doing.”
How can you affirm to yourself that action is your best course of action? Think about what is driving your inaction, or that of the organization that you lead or work within:
- fear of the unknown – people are hesitant to make decisions due to the potential negative consequences of unforeseen events. Fear is a powerful demotivator. Conquer it.
- a lousy trends radar and an ineffective tomorrow-implementation capability. Too many organizations continued to suffer from a poor understanding of the future and a realistic perspective of trends. This held many organizations back, unable to move forward.
- too much of a misfocus on perceived threats, and not enough of a focus on major opportunity also destroyed the ability of organizations for opportunistic opportunity chasing!
- too many organizations perpetuated a structure and culture that permitted inaction to fester, leading to organizational sclerosis which I talk about all too often.
- denial of the speed of change held organizations back – the action was simply not possible because they are still structured for slow in a fast world.
- uncertainty, arrogance, hubris, complacency – the sins of the CEO permeated their way through the organization. Go back and read my post on CEO hubris – it’s at https://hubris.jimcarroll.com – and ask yourself if this drove the inaction of your organization – did your leadership team simply let their ego drive inaction?
- chasing perfect information to drive decisions was a culprit – I saw too many organizations waiting for clarity on strategy and trends – but we now operate in a world in which fuzziness and volatility can drive the many twists and turns of existing trends, or result in massive news ones.
- fear of failure held organizations back – the fear of making the wrong decision accelerated aggressive indecision throughout the year, leading to a lack of action and progress.
- the mindset of “we’ll just wait and see” allowed this culture of inaction and indecision to become embedded – and once that happens, organizations are often unable to take proactive steps toward the future.
- and last but not least, ‘analysis paralysis‘ and ‘death by committee’ ruled the roost, and became the cancer of corporate inaction.
All of this meant that organizations suffered from missed opportunities, and a failure or reduced ability to respond to emerging competitive threats.
Do you know what the worst thing was about 2023? The mindset of potential doom and gloom caused you to freeze! In 2023, ‘corporate nervousness‘ about a potential recession led to a focus on cost-cutting and scaling back – but that was all misplaced because of a recession that never happened! What I saw throughout the year was a a general reluctance among many executives to commit to taking action – allowing a complete state of inertia to dominate all action. I wrote about that in my 23 Trends for 2023 post – #6 Opting Out.
What a lot of time was wasted! More important, that mindset failed to heed the reality that history has taught us that those who keep moving forward despite economic volatility are the ones who win.
Go back and read that post:
To opt-out is to choose not to participate in something.
Right now, the conventional wisdom – the wisdom of crowds – seems to be that if we are headed for a recession in 2023, we’d better hunker down, scale back, slow down, take it easy, be cautious, reduce spending, defer our actions, wait it out, take things slow, put things on pause.
And that is just plain idiotic. History tells us so – because those who choose to opt-out of conventional wisdom are those who win.
The trend that will unfold in 2023 has to do with the decision by many to choose not to participate in the current or upcoming recession, economic downturn, or whatever we want to call this period of economic uncertainty. We don’t really know if we are in a recession – one moment we seem to be, the next moment not. Clearly, it’s pretty volatile out there and uncertainty rules our future. In the context of that, it’s important to focus on the long-term goal, not the short-term volatility.
Because history tells us so!
Take a look at the lessons I identified in that post from what happened with those who chose to act in the face of indecision and uncertainty. They won. Did you?
Look, 2024 should be easy for you!
Just get stuff done!
It’s not like it’s complicated.