Big Ideas versus Incremental Steps is a False Choice
A key takeaway
message being reported from yesterday’s Democratic Town Hall in Iowa is the
divide between big ideas and incremental steps. In general, I don’t like mutual
exclusivity. (I’ve addressed this before in my book, Camelot, Inc.) Of course
we need big ideas and bold moves. But small things can be out-of-the-box and
innovative, too. The answer is we need both vision and execution, the large
goals and the little objectives, and the short-range and the long-term views.
I know it’s
hard for politicians to get elected on a platform of incremental steps. We’re
conditioned to expect the big idea, to go big or go home, or to swing for a
homerun. But it’s certainly not going to happen with our largest and most
beyond our politics and social ills. In the world of medicine, for example, Cy
Stein, M.D., Ph.D. and Chair of Medical Oncology at City of Hope Comprehensive
Cancer Center said,
"One advance leads to another. Although the advance might be incremental,
it's a step beyond." And, "If we are only interested in revolutionary
therapies, patients will miss out on the improvements in care that smaller
approach another Federal election, it’s worthwhile remembering that our
Founding Fathers were believers in the proverb “The perfect is the enemy of the
good.” Our country is nothing but a timeline of incremental advances. Many in
the Continental Congress wanted to abolish slavery, while others insisted it
remain.There would be no United States of America unless they could agree. So,
the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787 were
compromises. They were steps. We had to wait nearly a hundred years for the
Emancipation Proclamation and then another hundred for the Civil Rights Act.
strides can sometimes add up to a completed marathon. We should embrace and
celebrate the completion of each step along the way.
Leader, doer, problem solver specializing in strategic communications, public affairs, messaging/positioning, issues/crisis/reputation management, team development/mentorship, leadership development/coaching, and communication research, program planning and implementation.
Author of "Camelot, Inc.: Leadership and Management Insights from King Arthur and the Round Table," which uses quotes from Arthurian legends to illustrate the dos and don’ts of modern leaders and institutions.
Follow on Twitter @pauloestreicher