Think and do. So states the slogan of my Alma mater, North Carolina State University. I do love my university, and look at all the achievements and accomplishments with great pride.
Recently, reading a self-help article made me think about the “Think and Do” slogan. The article listed what characteristics will make an individual a high performer. The first trait was the ability to focus more effort to know and act. To not just think all the time, but to also spend equal or more time and resources knowing and acting, even if the picture or plan is not yet fully realized or complete.
Ideas, projects, or initiatives begin with a thought. “How can we…”, or “What would happen if…” are often asked. The genesis of a new idea is just but a thought. How much technology in history came from an idea? But at some point, there needs to be action. Things need to be understood, and then acted upon.
I remember growing up playing on computers throughout the 1980’s, and when I became a bit more financially independent, I would peruse through many computer magazines, looking at new technology in the release pipeline. New computers with faster processors or new versions of video cards were always just a month or two away. If not careful, people could be waiting indefinitely because as soon as a new model was on the market, the next iteration was already being advertised. At some point, I had to put some money down on what was available, otherwise I would forever be waiting for the next thing.
Thinking and planning can fall into a similar trap. Always planning and waiting can be detrimental to progress and innovation for any organization. Waiting for the right market conditions, or waiting for some levels of technology can paralyze companies from taking action. Inaction will always lead to trailing the leaders.
Think and plan, but be sure to incorporate action into the project or initiative. Sure there’ll be innovations down the road. New versions of a software package, new laws that could affect business practice, or different trends in the industry may impact an organization. But for those who idle and are constantly in a planning phase will never be able to take the initiative and be a leading industry.
So plan accordingly and think things through, but account for the need for acting. Not just in business, but also in life.
Think and do.