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The atmosphere at Tuesday night’s GLI Annual Meeting was quite inspiring. Hundreds of local business leaders gathered in the YUM Center, buzzing with excitement as they networked with fellow business owners and saw visions of obtainable success in 2012.

The energy in the room was contagious, almost to a point of delirium. The theme for the 2012 GLI Annual meeting was, “Ideas Create Jobs.” Well, we can’t argue with that slogan. We would, however, like to take it a step further. Innovation and ideas are the first step to creating jobs. But you can’t stop there! You must take action! The next and most critical step is Implementation.

As business owners, we all want our companies to be the next Fortune 500 and even on a smaller scale, we want to be named in the next Fast 50 Business celebration. We all have our dream goals, but what are we doing to get there?

Let’s take the GLI Annual Meeting’s key note speaker for example:

General Electric Co. (GE) Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt delivered a powerful message at the meeting: he’s returning refrigerator-production work to the U.S. from Mexico. Immelt said he is bringing back 600 jobs under an $800 million investment in its manufacturing complex in Louisville.

Now, we can sit here and debate whether or not Immelt’s just doing this for political reasons, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important here is that he is doing something for our local economy. He isn’t just thinking about it or talking about it. He’s taking innovation to the next crucial step: implementation.

Some ambivalent investors say this shift will mean relatively little to GE’s financial outlook. (According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the Home & Business Solutions division that includes appliance manufacturing makes up only 5.7 percent of GE’s $147.3 billion of revenue and 2.1 percent of its $14.2 billion of profit.)

Many are calling this a publicity stunt; an evil ploy to gain customer and investor loyalty by stamping, “Made in the USA” on GE products.

But Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says the criticism that GE and Immelt have drawn is undeserved. “It’s a reflection of the cynicism in our country right now,” Fischer said. “People should pull back and realize this is a good thing for our country and celebrate it instead of raising these questions.”

And we agree. Sometimes it feels like success and change are two things that make people extremely uncomfortable. Yes, success and change are uncertain. Reaching success often involves making a risky change that could destroy everything you’ve worked for.

But think about the great innovators, the great business leaders of our time.  Of course, there is the late Steve Jobs. He didn’t just sit around typing on his first or second or even third MAC computer thinking, “Wow, this is great, but I wish it worked a little better.” No, he actually did it. He had the ideas and he implemented them. He made products we didn’t even know we needed! But now, we can’t live without the newest versions of our iPods, iPhones, and iPads.

Think about Google. Google is constantly improving the ways people connect with information. They are many other search engines out there (Bing, Yahoo! Etc), but there is a reason people stick with Google.

Let’s step away from the technology companies. Let’s take McDonald’s for example. Ray Kroc, Founder of McDonald’s Corp once said, “When you’re green, you’re growing. When you’re ripe, you rot.” McDonald’s is always thinking one step ahead about what their customers might want to eat. Do their risks sometimes not pay off? Sure. Remember the McLobster, Hula Burger, McPizza, Arch Deluxe, McSpaghetti, McHotDog, Big N’ Tasty or even the controversial Super-size option? Yummmm. All major food flops.

Our point by listing these disgusting fast food options is to show you that even one of the most successful businesses makes mistakes. But at least they take chances. They are not only dreaming of new innovative ideas, but they are implementing them.

You need to ask yourself: Is your business running as productively as possible? Are you doing everything you can to run the most efficient and effective business?

The worst thing you can do for your business is to be static. Businesses need to grow and change along with the times.

The best way to evaluate your business is to conduct an audit. Start with your HR practices for example. To quote Ray Kroc again, “You’re only as good as the people you hire.” Are you hiring the right people? Are you compensating them correctly? Are you staying compliant so you stay out of the court room? The first step to answering these questions is to evaluate HR programs and practices by conducting a comprehensive, confidential audit of all your HR practices, procedures and policies. Let Integrity HR help you. Learn more here.

You also need to ask yourself: Is your technology up-to-date? Are there systems out there that could make your business run more efficiently? Is your on-boarding process cluttering your office and slowing down your business? We have the solution for you. Learn more here.

Yes, having innovative ideas are crucial to running a successful business. But implementation is key. Making it happen starts at the top. As the owner of your business, you need to create a culture that not only preaches innovation, but also implementation.

We have one last Ray Kroc quote, “If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.”

We hope this blog got you thinking. But more importantly, we hope this blog got you doing.

Stop over-thinking and start acting—contact Integrity HR today to learn how we can make your business run more efficiently.

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about the author: Amy Letke

Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success.