I have talking a lot about visions, ideals, strategies et al but very little on execution, which is equally important. I remembered once how my inadequate execution has lead to a disaster by a startup. So, vision and execution has to go hand in hand.
What do I mean by execution? I am referring to understanding processes. Seth Godin called this emotional intelligence:
Process, on the other hand, refers to the emotional intelligence skills you have about managing projects, visualizing success, persuading other people of your point of view, dealing with multiple priorities, etc. This stuff is insanely valuable and hard to learn. Unfortunately, it's usually overlooked by headhunters and HR folks, partly because it's hard to accredit or check off in a database.
My day job already allows me to learn about execution on national level projects. I want to get my hands a bit more dirty. So, I had to go beyond my day job. This is the stuff that I had done to hone my execution skills in startups.
Doing product development with startups
I spent at least a working day every week helping out at 3-4 startups. I participate in the product development aspect and sometimes maybe be the project manager. Through this, I have learn to communicate the project vision so that everyone understands and are motivated by its ideals. I enjoy this aspect tremendously as it connects my ideas to actual implementations.
This is pretty abstract but I am referring to the art of convincing people so that connections or partnerships happen. I find this to be extremely difficult to master, although it is absolutely essential. This ties in with the art of communication in general but it is more subtle. For example dropping suggestions at the right moment to connect people.
Learn interaction design
I am not a coding guy. So, I try to complement the startups by picking up the skill of interaction design. Most of the founders are techies so what I bring to the table is something they are lacking. How do I learn? Practicing and constantly referencing stuff like this and this. Doing the actual designs is also a good way to communicate your ideas.
There is more to execution than what I have described. If you have anything to share, do drop a comment as well.
- Developing "personal APIs" will be the key to scaling collaboration. (unstructuredventures.com)
- Unordered Thoughts (unstructuredventures.com)
- This is the kind of ethos / exploring / thinking I respect. (taylordavidson.com)
- Opportunities in enhancing discovery (serendipity) (ac-idealog.blogspot.com)