Norton: Turning high-speed thinking into action

There is certainly no shortage of ideas these days. As a matter of fact, we typically come up with more ideas than we really need. And the more ideas we generate the more excited we get about putting them into practice. What I am seeing more and more of is some very high-speed thinking. The problem is that I am also seeing some low functioning and less motivated doing.

Brainstorming is one of my very favorite exercises to participate in. Sometimes I find myself working through ideas on my own and challenging myself to come up with as many possible new ideas or solutions as possible. However, what I enjoy more is being part of a group and having others share their ideas and what they are thinking. In most cases, their contributions and line of thinking was something totally different than my own. And usually much smarter.

The problem is that our thinking never stops, there is always one more idea or new approach we want to think through. One more shiny object to chase. This, in turn, creates a bigger problem — the “doing” actually does stop.

As I explored this further, I found out some very interesting information. As much as some people love innovative thinking and creativity, coming up with vision and strategy, they don’t like to do the work that it takes to execute or implement the idea. Unless of course, it was their own idea.

The other thing people shared with me was that in many cases of a team meeting or brainstorming session, the meeting ended with no clearly defined next steps or assigned ownership. They may have had a powerful thought-provoking session, but when it was over, the excitement that was generated in the room evaporated with everyone’s exit. Or it was assumed that someone would simply take ownership.

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So how do we turn high-speed thinking into highly motivated action? The answer isn’t found in the “Just do it” slogan. The answer is found in just two “doing” words: prioritization and accountability.

As much as I enjoy spending time on an airplane filling up a page or two of ideas and strategy, I always go back and prioritize everything on the pages. The next step is to put dates, names of team members or people who can help, desired outcomes, and most importantly I write down an immediate next step.

Having a very clearly defined next step forces prioritization and accountability. Too often we look for the endgame or result. We hit the fast-forward button and forget that in order to achieve our desired results, we must first know and take that very first step, that immediate next step.

And yes, having a plan beyond our immediate next step is super important, however, if we are talking about turning ourselves or our teams from high-speed thinkers driven by highly motivated action, we must start with the first action step.

Keep the ideas coming — creativity drives our innovation and growth. Never stop writing them down or capturing them in some way. Keep revisiting those ideas from time to time as they may be brilliant, just not timely. They may become even more brilliant over time and with each new review or brainstorming session. To become a highly-motivated person of action means we never allow our flow of new ideas become an excuse for not getting the job done. Accountability means we own it, or someone owns it.

So how about you? Are you continually inspired by new ideas? Are you a big-picture thinking kind of person? Do you also find a way to implement and execute to achieve success? If so, I would love to hear your high-speed thinking creativity stories and highly motivated action plans at You can also email me if you would like help in this area. And when we let prioritization and accountability drive our new ideas, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is the Chief Revenue Officer for Eventus Solutions Group, a strategic consultant, business, and personal coach, and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.

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