"The most effective way to do it, is to do it."

Amelia Earhart said this... 

"The most effective way to do it, is to do it"

If you are not familiar with Amelia Earhart, she was an American aviation pioneer and the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. During an attempt to fly around the world in 1937, she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean; she was declared dead in absentia in 1939 at the age of 41.

I really like what Amelia has said, as it gets to the heart of an important component of effective execution... now having said this, I know of at least one lovely, yet skeptical friend, who thinks that this contradicts previous thoughts I've had on effective execution. I believe it is with the words "do it" and the possible perception that they are "fanciful" or "spontaneous", creating an air of something "less effective or trite" when it comes to effective execution. I look at it a little differently, and in fact, see great power in the words "do it".

For the sake of illustration, let's change Amelia's quote to - "The most effective way to execute, is to execute." Now this feels more formal, more "business like", more structured... something to this effect:

  • There has been a formal review of the situation.
  • A formal process to develop a plan of action.
  • The appropriate resources were aligned to implement the plan.
  • A time and event schedule has been developed with regular operating mechanisms to keep us on track.
  • Testing where applicable is conducted.
  • Reviewed readiness.
  • Approval to "implement".
  • Implement.
  • Gather feedback 

All very structured, very measurable, very actionable and very intellectual. Sometimes though, particularly as you get closer to "implementation", it never gets fully implemented, delayed or never quite happens. But how can that be, it seems so well thought out? Simply put, decisions and actions are not simply intellectual activities but also emotional.

We have to contend with our feelings, as these emotions can bring the best laid plans to a grinding halt... the risk of being wrong, being misjudged, making a mistake, compromising your security, compromising status, etc. can result in a range of negative emotions such as fear, shame, dread, disappointment, embarrassment and frustration. All of which will challenge the most well thought out plans.

So back to Amelia's quote, "The most effective way to do it, is to do it" speaks to the power of how the words "do it" resonate with the emotional side of the human spirit... drawing out the human energy of courage, tenacity, sacrifice, and confidence, just to mention a few - Allowing a person to overcome their doubts and fears and make the emotional decision to "do it". You just have to look as far as the motivational quotes that are hanging everywhere, feeding our emotional resolve... something to this effect: 

  • "You only need your approval. Anyone else is a bonus."
  • "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek."
  • Courage doesn't always roar, sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow".
  • "Dreams come in one size, TOO BIG, so you can grow into them."
  • "What would you attempt if you knew you couldn't fail."
  • "There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing"
  • "On the other side of fear lies freedom"
  • "The number one skill in life is not giving up"
  • "Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.

At the heart of all effective execution is the emotional decision to "do it" and setting the energy of the human spirit in place to get it done. With that resolve established, all you need is a well thought out execution plan.

Rest in Peace Amelia Earhart.