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4 Reasons to Be Cautious in Taking Action

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I recently wrote that knowledge is not power. Knowledge is potential power. Power is in execution. In other words, empires are built by those who are great at acting upon ideas that will move them toward their goal.

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Having built many businesses, I have learned that my greatest strength is in my ability to act. I have big, hairy, audacious goals and I execute ideas daily to move closer to my dreams. That being said, there are downsides to execution. Here are four reasons to be cautious about executing.

1. The vision

The biggest downside to execution is that it takes a massive amount of manpower. Executing ideas is a full-time job. It is vitally important to make sure that you stop occasionally to measure your success and make sure you are moving toward your original mission. The best executors set up systems for moving forward constantly.

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It's far too easy to let time slip by and one day lift up your head to say, "Wait, where are we headed again?" Review your goals constantly and make sure the actions you are taking are moving you toward them.

2. Planning

If you are constantly executing, it leaves little time for planning. What if there are bigger and better ideas for you to execute on? What if there are bigger and better goals that you should be achieving?

Set aside time to plan, dream and map out the future of your business. Execution will move you closer to your goals, but planning will allow you to rethink those goals entirely. Perhaps through executing on plan A, you'll find new ideas and possibilities that suggest there's a plan B that's even better.

3. No turning back

Have you invested so heavily in the execution of an idea that you feel there's no turning back? Execution requires you to invest man hours, capital and other resources. The downside to this is that if you focus on the cost of everything you invested, it creates a bias that favors continuation of the action steps, even if it's not in the best interest of the company.

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For example, you have invested $1 million in resources to produce a new line of widgets. Initial sales results are terrible. Are you too invested in the idea to stop now? The downside to execution is that once invested in an idea, it's hard to cut bait and start over, although often it's the best thing to do.

4. The peanut gallery

When an idea is executed upon, it begins to become public. Employees, customers, vendors and others start to see the progress of the idea unfold. This is when you start to hear feedback from the peanut gallery. This can be good and bad.

Are you ready to listen to criticism, new or better ideas or regular feedback? Again, all of this can be beneficial to your execution. It can also make for a lot of white noise making it difficult to focus on executing the original idea. Know that when you bring an idea to fruition within your business or the marketplace, there will be a peanut gallery on the sideline offering their two cents.

For all the downsides there are to execution, I still believe that the upsides are tremendous. Fortune favors the bold and execution of ideas is necessary.

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