Speed of implementation is a critical skill to foster if you want to grow your effectiveness as an engineer. As soon as you learn something, you need to practice it. Learn by doing; it’s easier said than done.
Whether building competence through learning or generating ideas and putting them to use, the same critical habit is required: speed of implementation.
Technological innovation is speeding up. If you have an idea, it’s very likely a number of other people have a similar thought or idea at the same time. That’s why it’s becoming more and more critical to move and act on an idea as fast as possible. The window of opportunity for a particular improvement or advancement is getting tighter and tighter.
The increasing consequences on relative laggards is very evident if you look at the general trend of how long companies and industries survive.
A researcher named Richard Foster calculated that in 1958 a company in the S&P 500 could expect to stay on the list for 61 years. Today it’s 18.
Delay is suicide. What if the founders of Uber had waited a few years to launch their idea? If they had started three years later, their company would probably have had 1% of the success that Uber enjoys today.
When you’re thinking of building a product, the idea is less likely to be viable the longer you wait. Great ideas have a short shelf life; and its getting even shorter.
There is a story about Dan Sullivan, the strategic coach, who was running a workshop for two groups at the same time. One group was $1000 a seat, the other group was $10,000 a seat. At some point, one of the people in the $1000 group asked Sullivan what he was teaching those people in the $10,000 group that he wasn’t teaching them. Dan said he was teaching the same stuff to both groups, and in fact wasn’t getting though as much material with the $10,000 group as he was with the $1000 group. He said the $10,000 group needed to go though the materials slower as they were trying to really understand the subject matter. Also, as soon as they got it they immediately needed a break so they could try to apply what they’d learned.
Test out your idea in the real world immediately, because the window is not going to stay open for very long.
If you just learned something useful, practice it right away.
If you just had a great idea, try to take the next step right away.