Forrest Gump presented the idea that “Stupid is as stupid does.”
An observation that is much wider than the normal allocation of stupid. It does not prohibit a smart person from being stupid. It is action and outcome oriented, which when you think about it, is all that matters.
So what happens if someone does nothing at all? There is no “does,” so presumably there can be no stupid. A good outcome to be sure, but the less good part of it is that there is nothing at all.
Life works better if people become outcome oriented. Measure success by what happens not what is proposed, promised or implied. Strategic things are meant to provide a guide for effective tactics and efficient implementation, but policy is worth nothing until someone does something with it. Judge operations. Decide excellence based upon results.
If we create an idea that parallels Forrest’s we can see the problem.
If we said, “Smart is as smart does,” we still judge actions. There is a difference though. Someone could appear smart and do nothing. Stuck at the idea stage. Ideas are not especially valuable by themselves. Only the ability to turn them into action matters.
There are many examples of ideas that look simple, like Facebook, Walmart or Amazon, that were extremely difficult to implement. The idea share of their total value is near zero.
Be cautious of a paradoxical problem in business and life. Only a good idea can lose big. No one invests much time, money, or effort in bad ideas and not every good idea works out.
Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is now with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.
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