Mar 16, 2021

Founders should follow these 5 steps to turn ideas into reality

You have an innovative and differentiated product that has withstood your relentless scrutiny and you are ready to go forth and conquer. (In other words, you’ve mastered what I call the “3 Cs of Entrepreneurship,” which you can read about here.)  Now it’s time to talk about how to build your ideas into reality. I approach this process by working through five key steps. It’s critical to give all of them your equal attention and to understand how they influence one another.

Here are my “5 Steps to Strategic Execution”:

Vision: This is your dream—what you want to be and where you want your enterprise (whether social, business, or hybrid) to be in 20 years. Some may say your mission should come first, but I start with vision, because you need to know where you are headed to forge a road to get there.

While dreaming can be criticized as undermining an entrepreneur’s ability to stay grounded and focused, it is an extremely valuable pursuit, because it orients us toward where we are going. As Henry David Thoreau said, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” Let’s talk about building those foundations…

Read the full article on Fast Company

More from Daniel

2022 High Point University Commencement Address

Today, I want to talk about a light and fluffy subject: your generation’s role in steering humanity in the right direction. No pressure, Dalton. 

But in all seriousness, Dalton, I love what you shared about “leaving everywhere you go better than you found it…and finding ways to give grace and inspiration to the people around you.”  

I want to talk today about HOW to do that as you are all simultaneously challenged and blessed with graduating as our world is re-entering a stage of dramatic consequence. 

The ship of humanity is moving in the wrong direction, and it will be upon all of you to steer it back on track. 

To illustrate this point, I want to compare the circumstances when my father’s generation came of age, to those when my generation and your generation graduated from college. 

My father was fifteen-and-a-half when he was liberated from the Dachau concentration camp by American soldiers. He was barely alive.  He never got to go to school past third grade, let alone college. Several of your grandparents were around your age when they were sent to free Europe from tyranny and darkness. 

By contrast, when I was fifteen years-old, my family immigrated to America from Mexico. I was able to attend college during a period when passionate but cordial debate was the norm. I remember observing political leaders vehemently disagree on a particular topic, while maintaining a friendship rooted in respect. Our world was far from perfect – but the arc of human progress trended in an upward direction. Freedom, open markets, human rights, civility, and the quest for knowledge were all advancing.  

It seemed almost too good to be true.  In fact, it was so good that we began to lose sight that Our Great American Experiment isn’t so much a fixed state of affairs as it is a purposeful daily affirmation – something that we opt into, live out, and vote for not once every four years, but every single day – through how we engage with one another. 

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