Thinking and Planning vs. Doing

For far too long, when we –as investors– were assessing entrepreneurs, we were measuring their abilities to plan. Business plan competitions. Pitch competitions. These assess the ability to come up with an idea and talk about it (quickly).

What I think we need to measure is the ability to do stuff. And thanks to accelerators that culminate in demo days and start-up weekends we have finally found a way to do that. Does the fact that you can get something done in 6 weeks or 72 hours mean you have the chops to take a company all the way? Maybe, maybe not. Does it tell us more about your probability for success than if you prepare a report, a slide deck and give a presentation? Heck yeah.

As educators, our stated goal is critical thinking — the ability to gain insight and draw conclusions. But our assessments are generally limited to reports, slide decks and presentations where we grade the ability to articulate that thinking. But we rarely assess the ability to convert that thinking into action.

This seems ironic to me because we know the key to success in the vast majority of careers is exactly that conversion. So this is where I believe our educational model falls short.However, I’m not ready with a solution. How do we teach the action part? And how do we assess it given the context of a 3 month semester?  If you have thoughts on this, please feel free to post them in the comments.

In the mean time, here are a number of articles on the relationship between doing stuff and success as it relates to entrepreneurship and one additional article on ways to manage all the stuff you need to do. I’ve also included an article from Fortune about the greatest entrepreneurs of our time. The stories of how they got from idea to action are worth exploring.

The Art of Execution: via Guy Kawasaki

Note to Entrepreneurs: Your idea is not special. via Brad Feld

Entrepreneurship Comes Down to Execution via US News

The 12 Greatest Entrepreneurs of Our Time via Fortune

Five Best Productivity Tools via LifeHacker