Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book Review: Good Idea. Now What?

When we moved to the Los Angeles area I wanted to switch gears in my church life. I had been going to a church back East that was and is an awesome close-knit community. I had great friends and we really supported each other in all the aspects of our lives. As much goodness as that was, I wanted to try something different. We were moving to a place where I had my sister and another close girlfriend. Since I was being shaken out of my comfort zone, I felt like this was the perfect opportunity for us to be shaken out of our spiritual comfort zone as well. After visits to churches near and far in LA and Orange County, we settled at New Hope South Bay.

The pastor of the church, Charles T. Lee preached sermons that made you feel like you could walk on water. He inspired, empowered, and challenged you to do enormous good for the local and global community. The church was a recent church plant and didn't have a huge number of members. Perhaps there was a core group of 40 believers and a larger transient group of 200. But throughout the two years I attended this church, the core group raised hundreds of dollars through rummage sales to support an orphanage in China, put together gift baskets at Christmas time for victims of human trafficking, paid for countless loads of laundry for the homeless through the Laundry Love initiative, and supported children and moms in the community by providing free VBS, a meeting location, and events in the park that tied in popular culture and the message of Christ. Sometimes when I think back, I am really amazed at how much we accomplished with so few people. It truly was a special special time in my Christian life.

After we moved to Silicon Valley, the church closed for a variety of reasons (not the least of which being zoning laws that the church before us had broken in building the facility) and Pastor Charles moved on to another calling. I think that God recognized his ability to activate and spur people on to action by giving Charles the opportunity to create something that would enable him to do just that not just for Christians but for everyone and anyone with the capacity to do good. As the CEO of Ideation, he creates spaces through which some of the most innovative thinkers and practitioners in the field of social good (e.g., businesses, organizations, influencers, etc.) meet in order to help fellow practitioners develop thoughts and tangible next steps for greater impact in their respective work. Of course, not everyone can afford the time and expense of attending a conference, so Charles has made it possible for those with great ideas get these ideas from abstract formulations to executable action steps.

Each chapter in Good Idea. Now What? is structured simply. I think the short and sweet approach works so that you can effectively build layer by layer the strategy to carry out your plans. You think about a concept, you formulate action plans, then you act. There is space for you to write down your thoughts so that you can have your notes all in one place and be able to come back to them later. This makes total sense, yet I've never come to the realization myself. When you write something down about your idea and see how it changes, then you're able to revisit key steps later and track the evolution of your idea instead of it just being a jumbled mess in your head.

One chapter that affected me right away discusses insecurity--how we are afraid to ask for things or present ideas at work because we think we will be shot down. Charles makes the excellent point that there is very little chance that we will be fired so we should stop being insecure and just do it. This may sound really minuscule, but I had not been able to access my work email on my phone. This meant that I had to go to my computer several times a day and many times I would get to email late, even days late, because of emails coming in at odd times. I had asked my boss to get me access back in December but with everything else going on (my request being low priority on the to-do list of a startup), I hadn't heard back. After reading this chapter, I talked to my boss again and he got me access right away. I can't believe I just sat back and did nothing about this for three months, but Charles was right. If you need something at work to make you able to work better, there is absolutely no downside to taking action.

I won't reveal all the great nuggets of the book because I want you to go and read it yourself. Even if you don't have a supersonic singular idea, this book can help you get your life organized. If you do have a potential world-changer on your hands, it also has a great list of references for other resources that can help you turn your dream into a reality. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and the man behind the book. If you look up the word "integrity" in the dictionary, Charles Lee's face would be there. It would also probably be followed by the words, see also, "Yankee fan," but that's another blog post. Here is a great Youtube video about the book:

I hope it will help you bring your greatness to the world!

I was not compensated for this post. It was a pleasure reviewing a book written by a friend and mentor. 

1 comment:

Scott said...

Great review! Well said. :)