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CNLP 274: Charles Lee on Why So Many Ideas Never Get Turned Into Reality, and the Path to Effective Execution and Scale

So many leaders have great ideas…that go absolutely nowhere. Charles Lee wants to change that. He helps companies and leaders turn ideas into reality.

Charles shares a proven path from idea to execution, and shares some of his early life watching his immigrant parents grow and scale businesses. His family helped bring Korean BBQ to America. Charles explains how seeing that much hard work made him realize much more is possible than most leaders think.

Welcome to Episode 274 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

Charles Lee | Theideation.comGood Idea. Now What?

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Episode Links

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The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

3 Insights from Charles

1. Don’t confuse competency with calling

Just because you are gifted at something, does not mean you should do it. There is a massive difference between doing what you are gifted at, and doing what you are called to do. You can be gifted at many things, but you are only called to do one thing.

Your gifting should always be used to support your calling, not the other way around. Charles had to learn this when he decided to leave ministry to start an organization called Ideation. When Charles first considered leaving ministry, he saw that he could have a much greater impact and he could help a lot more people if he used his gifting to help other people achieve their goals and turn their ideas into action. So, although he was heavily gifted for ministry, he pursued his calling of starting Ideation.

2. The most important thing you can do for turning an idea into action is writing it down

Ideas are just fun to think about, and that is great until you talk about an idea for months and never turn it into action. Charles has learned that the best way to turn an idea that you think and talk about into action is by writing it down. He recommends that when you get a great idea that actually solves a problem, you should write it down into a working document that you will improve over time.

When building out these ideas, bring this document with you to meetings where you will talk about the idea and add notes in throughout the conversation. This idea also works with action items from meetings. If you are in a meeting, you can start an “action items” email where you write down the action items during the meeting so that by the end, the email is already completed and you can just hit send. This saves you time and increases the chances that you act on the ideas you talk about in meetings.

3. A great idea always solves a problem for the customer

Good ideas boil down to whether or not they actually solve a real problem in the world. If an idea solves that real-world problem, it is actually a good idea. If it doesn’t solve a problem, it is not a great idea. This is a filter Charles runs all of his ideas through before he takes action on them.

Having this mindset changes how you approach coming up with ideas. The old-fashioned method of getting lots of people into a board room just doesn’t cut it for modern ideation. Charles would encourage anyone who is creating ideas to put themselves into a situation where they are “in the customer’s shoes” and experience empathy for the customer. When you establish empathy and feel what the customer feels, you will begin to have an idea of what they need.

Quotes from Episode 274

Sometimes our greatest strengths are in our blind spots because we assume everybody else knows how to do it. @charlestlee Click To Tweet

Change is inevitable, progress is not. Focus on progress and stop worrying about change. @charlestlee Click To Tweet

Ideas don't work, you do. @charlestlee Click To Tweet

Good ideas boil down to whether or not it actually solves a real problem in the world. @charlestlee Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 274

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Watch the Podcast on YouTube

Select episodes of this podcast are now on YouTube. Our new YouTube Channel gives you a chance to watch some episodes, not just listen. We’ll add select episodes to YouTube as time goes on.

Didn’t See It Coming Will Help You Solve the Problems Most Leaders Miss

If you want practical help overcoming some of the biggest challenges leaders face, my new book Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That Nobody Expects and Everyone Experiences tackles the seven core issues that take people out: cynicism, compromise, disconnectedness, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and the emptiness of success and provides strategies on how to combat each.

I wrote the book because no 18-year-old sets out to be cynical, jaded and disconnected by age 35. Yet it happens all the time.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here’s what top leaders are saying about Didn’t See It Coming:

“Seriously, this may be the most important book you read this year.” Jud Wilhite, Lead Pastor, Central Church

“Powerful, personal, and highly readable. ”Brian Houston, Global Senior Pastor, Hillsong

“Whatever challenge you’re facing, whatever obstacle you’re hoping to overcome, whatever future you dream or imagine, there is something powerful for you here.” Andy Stanley, Founder, North Point Ministries

“Uncommonly perceptive and generous…You have to read this book.” Ann Voskamp, NYT bestselling author

“Masterful.”Reggie Joiner, CEO Orange

“Deep biblical insight, straightforward truth, and practical wisdom to help you grow.” Craig Groeschel, Pastor and NYT bestselling author

“This book is sure to help you.” Daniel H. Pink, NYT bestselling author

Over the years, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being a public speaker is having opportunities to hang out with Carey…It’s not a matter of if you’ll run into these challenges; it’s a matter of when. Be prepared by spending a little time with a leader who has already been there.” Jon Acuff, NYT best-selling author

“Nieuwhof’s book provides expert guidance…with an accuracy that pierces the heart.” Nancy Duarte, CEO Duarte Inc.

“A refreshingly transparent guide for all leaders in a wide variety of industries.” Bryan Miles, Co-Founder and CEO, BELAY

You can learn more and get your copy of Didn’t See It Coming here.

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Next Episode: Drew Dyck

So many leaders struggle with willpower and self-control, whether that’s grabbing that extra piece of chocolate cake, acting up at a meeting or just not taking care of themselves. Drew Dyck discusses his latest book on willpower and explains how habits are the key to greater self-control. As a journalist and publishing acquisition editor, Drew also talks about the massive changes in publishing since the rise of the internet, how curated content is just about gone, and the new digital world that publishing finds itself in.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 275.

CNLP 274: Charles Lee on Why So Many Ideas Never Get Turned Into Reality, and the Path to Effective Execution and Scale

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