The Magic of Writing + Rigorous, Thoughtful Execution for 10x Results

In the world of turning ideas into action, there’s a tool that often gets overlooked in the hustle: writing. We’ve all been there—thinking we’ve got a solid concept, ready to be discussed. But the moment we put it into words, it’s like trying to straighten out a crumpled piece of paper. The truth becomes clear: what seemed crystal-clear in our heads is actually a mess.

Putting your thoughts on paper forces you to confront the reality of your idea. What felt perfect in your mind is exposed in its entirety, flaws and all. And it’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s where the real magic happens.

Breaking Down the Illusion

Let’s get to the heart of the matter. How many times have you thought you had a breakthrough, only to realize it’s not as groundbreaking as you thought? Writing is the reality check. It’s where your ideas meet the real world. It forces you to ask the tough questions, to dig into the details, and to see if your concept stands up to scrutiny.

In a world flooded with fleeting ideas, writing is the filter. The ideas that survive the process—the ones that hold up under your own analysis—are the ones worth pursuing. Writing makes you confront the gaps in your thinking, challenge your assumptions, and polish your plan. And when you sit down to articulate your initiatives, you’re in for a surprise.

Writing for product managers & product leaders

As product managers, we’re not just steering the ship; we’re charting the course towards success. Initiatives are our canary in the coal mine.

The process of selecting initiatives to hit our key results or commitments for the quarter or the six-month period is about more than just picking projects. It’s about interrogating each initiative thoroughly. We, as product managers and product leaders, bear the responsibility of ensuring that our initiatives are not only effective and realistic but also achievable and sufficient to hit our targets.

Interrogating each initiative regularly

So, let’s talk about writing again. Let’s make time and space to be intellectually honest with ourselves about our initiatives. Here’s how:

  • Current Status: Use the familiar red-amber-green indicators to evaluate where each initiative stands.
  • Current Progress: Rate the execution progress on a scale from 0 to 100, giving you a concrete grasp of how far you’ve come.
  • Current Outlook: Gauge your sentiment with a quick happy-neutral-sad assessment of the initiative’s prospects.
  • Latest Situation: Provide a snapshot of recent developments, commitments, and actions related to the initiative.
  • Next Steps: Lay out the concrete actions—whether in progress, waiting, or needing follow-up—to keep momentum rolling.

Suggestion: Repeat the above process for each initiative at least weekly & in private. Why privately? to encourage honesty & authenticity in your interrogation. You may produce a version of your interrogation for distribution which pulls a few punches. 

By taking the time to articulate these aspects, you’re not just evaluating initiatives; you’re cultivating a culture of transparency and accountability. Your initiatives, under this scrutiny, transform from mere plans to living, breathing pathways to success.

Stay tuned for the next part, where we’ll uncover strategies to take your initiative evaluation process to the next level. is a lightweight platform linking day to day execution with overarching goals. It is opinionated software underpinning regular & consistent monitoring & journaling against your initiatives, goals & milestones. 


August 24, 2023

Written by

Paul Alvares

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