If You Want a Great Result, You Need a Great Script

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I am a seasoned show business professional and you’re not, so this may be an unfair question. But I’m going to ask it anyway. Ready? (That wasn’t the question.)

Motivational Speaker Bill StaintonWhen they get on the set to produce an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, do you think the director just tells the cast, “Go…do doctor stuff!”? (Full disclosure: I’ve never been on the set of Grey’s Anatomy. Even though the show takes place in Seattle, where I live, it’s Hollywood Seattle, not Seattle Seattle. I hope I’m not shattering any illusions here, but there is no Seattle Grace Hospital. Most of the show takes place in sound stages in Los Angeles.) But, again, when the actors and crew are assembled in the sound stage, do you think the director says, “Okay everybody, go be doctors!”?

Of course not. The director and the cast all have a script. That script is their road map. It’s the action plan that tells them what to do first, what to do second, what to do third. Grey’s Anatomy is a hit show, and it’s got a great cast—but without a script, they’d just end up wandering around the stage hoping something good happens.

It’s the same in your business and in your life. Everything you undertake—from a single sales call to your entire career; from a family vacation to a retirement plan—is like a show, and you are the producer. You are the one responsible for the results. And if you really want great results—even unreasonable results—you need a script. You need a road map. You need a plan.

And, just like a TV or movie script is broken into acts, and each act is broken into scenes, you have to make sure that the script for your show—your project, your outcome—is broken down into acts and scenes—small, easy-to accomplish steps that you can put on a calendar and do one after the other until your show is produced.

Your script can’t be, “I’m going to make a million dollars.” That’s a show. But the first scene of your script for that show might be, “Tomorrow I’ll call five potential clients.”

When you start to play a bigger game, the sheer scope can be daunting. So break it into bite-sized pieces. Don’t get hung up about where you want to be a year from now. Instead, think about what you can do today. Once that’s done, think about what you can do tomorrow. Come up with a plan—a script—and just take it scene by scene.

Remember: the better your script, the better your show.

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About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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