8: Informed execution is the answer

Happy Monday,

Hope you’ve had a great weekend (and last week).

In this week’s newsletter, I want to talk about what I call informed execution. This newsletter is directed at entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, but this concept can apply to whatever you’re trying to do in life.

There are four buckets of execution/non-execution.

  1. Uninformed, not executing
  2. Informed, not executing
  3. Uninformed, executing
  4. Informed, executing

Uninformed, not executing

If you’re here, then you’re not learning or doing.

Maybe you’re taking an extended vacation. Maybe you’re taking a sabbatical year.

But in most cases, if you’re here, you’re procrastinating for some reason. You haven’t committed to the project you’ve been thinking about. You don’t want to do research around it either.

This is the homeostatic state that’s comfortable to stay in but is ultimately unrewarding.

Informed, not executing

This is a minor step-up from the first bucket. You’re still not executing, but you’re reading books and watching videos on things that you thinkmight be helpful.

The person in this category is the person who’s read 20 business books in 18 months but still hasn’t made their first sale.

Or they’re the person who buys a bunch of workout gear and does research on the most effective exercise routine but hasn’t yet been to the gym.

It’s not much better than the first bucket, really. You could argue it’s worse, because unlike watching Netflix, reading business books or researching workout routines makes you feel like you’re getting work done. You feel productive, even though you’re not.

That feeling is addictive, and it’s the reason why you come across people who have “book knowledge” on a subject like entrepreneurship but haven’t actually built anything.

Uninformed, executing

B-level entrepreneurs are in this category.

They’re execution-focused and know that it’s better to take action than to sit around.

The person in this category likes taking action, being busy, getting things done, and seeing results.

They are hesitant to step back and be strategic about their execution, which causes them to spend more time than necessary on certain projects or initiatives. They rely mostly on trial and error.

These people are usually successful (or on the path to becoming successful), it just takes longer for them to see results because they’re uninformed—and they’re likely missing a more effective/efficient path to achieve results.

Informed, executing

This is the genius zone where you want to be as much as possible.

Your execution is directed by what you know (or know you don’t know).

You consume information to aid your execution, not just for the sake of consuming information.

The person in this bucket is highly effective. They don’t have all the answers (no one does) but they know that they’re on a path that will get them the answers.

They’re not blindly executing on whatever they feel like. They are leveraging informed insight to execute on what is likely the most potent strategy.

The limitation of this model

The difference between uninformed/executing and informed/executing is not binary but a spectrum.

You will never be perfectly informed. There’s no such thing.

You won’t launch a business with perfect information about your market, how your offer is going to convert, how many sales you’re going to make, and so on. It’s information that you cannot know.

But you can launch a business with a reasonable degree of confidence that your offer is going to be compelling to your market, you’re going to make a minimum of X sales, and so forth—based on the research you’ve done and the insights you’ve gained from previous execution.

And this is much closer to the informed/executing end of the spectrum than the uninformed/executing end of the spectrum (which would be randomly launching a product to a market you’ve done zero research on).

How to make this actionable

You first need to know which zone you’re operating in.

Are you:

  1. Doing and learning absolutely nothing right now? (Uninformed/not-executing)
  2. Informed but not executing?
  3. Executing but not informed?
  4. Executing based on previously acquired information and insight (informed execution)?

If you’re uninformed and not-executing

The worst thing you can do is put yourself in the second category and start learning without executing.

You need to jump straight to 3 or 4. Really, you just need to do something. Finish a project, no matter how small it is.

Most people in this category lack momentum. And the only way to build that momentum is to win.

If you’re informed and not executing

Put down the books. Stop listening to podcasts. Stop watching YouTube.

Choose a project, list out the steps, and start executing.

Only allow yourself to consume information if and when you get stuck during the process.

To make this easier, commit to a minimum viable amount of daily execution—say 60 mins. Don’t allow yourself to consume/read until you’ve hit that number.

If you’re executing but not informed

Try to take 1-2 days off the grind to step back and analyze what you’re doing.

Ask:

  • Is this the best possible path to achieve what I want to achieve?
  • Are their key bottlenecks on the horizon that I need to be wary of?
  • What knowledge or information am I missing?
  • What knowledge or information would help me speed up this process significantly?
  • Is there a book I can read/someone I can talk to shortcut what I’m trying to do?

Then get back to it.

If you’re executing and you’re informed

Keep going. You’re on the right path.

A final note on informed execution

The truth is, the pure act of taking action usually gives you the information you truly need (more so than books and podcasts).

That’s why you should default to execution, not information-gathering.

Those who default to execution—even if it’s uninformed execution—usually end up in the informed execution camp anyway because they gain the necessary insights along the way.

So, if you’re not sure what to do, or you find yourself in analysis paralysis, just take action. Execute. The answers will reveal themselves to you.

Hope you enjoyed this week’s newsletter!

Have a great week.

-Sam

P.S. I wrote a tweet thread last week on 18 ways to be more productive. You probably won’t agree with all of them, but it seemed to resonate with a lot of people (500+ retweets).

Want more content like this?

Join my private newsletter and stay in the loop with new content.