The older I get the more I find the answer to most problems is practice.
For those who want to write better, the answer is to practice.
For those who want to deliver better presentations, the answer is to practice.
For those who want to create better work, predict trends more accurately or be more creative, the answer is to practice, practice, practice.
The same goes for organizations.
The organizations that excel in innovation, like IDEO, have practiced the mindset, process and creativity.
The organizations that focus on extreme simplicity, like 37signals did, have practiced saying no to most ideas and yes to only a few great ideas.
The organizations that offer great customer service, like Zappos, have a practiced culture, staff and orientation toward doing what makes customers happy.
We don’t want practice to be the answer because practice takes time. Practice takes effort. Practice means that we probably will start out awful, progress to average and maybe someday make it to great. Practice takes resilience to bounce back from making many mistakes. Practice implies that we won’t look perfectly professional and polished right out of the gate – an idea that many of us, including long-time associations can’t stand.
On the other hand practicing is far more socially and professionally acceptable now than it ever was. Software companies have paved the way for all of us with their mantra’s of living life in beta, failing fast, A/B testing and other experiments.
Members have already given us permission to practice. We now just have to take it.