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  • Writer's pictureRobert Stevenson

Killing Ideas Can Hurt Your Future

Robert Stevenson Blog - Create and Ideas

So, you have called a meeting and there they all sit; Bias, opinionated, have favorites, scared of senior management, narrow-minded, open-minded, power seekers, egotists, young, old, seasoned veterans, inexperienced rookies, risk takers, and others who always play it safe. Then someone makes a suggestion and the games begin. The idea doesn’t stand on its own. Oh, no … quite the contrary. Unfortunately, most people “size up” the person who shared it. The definition of “sizing up” is, to examine something or someone carefully and decide what you think about it, him, or her.”

What does “sizing up” the person who shared the idea have to do with the strength of the idea? Absolutely nothing! Here are a few examples of “Sizing Up” the person:

A new person shared it and people think:They haven’t earned the right to share anything.

A young person shared it and people think:They have no experience. Why listen to them.

An old person shared it and people think:They are so set in their ways always doing everything old school.

Senior management shared it and people think:They want to control everything and do it their way.

A person you dislike shared it and you think:I wouldn’t ever do anything they suggested.

May I suggest you don’t allow anyone to verbally express a major idea to the group. Assign everyone a number and have them submit ideas with their number attached to it. Only one person knows who is assigned to which number. Then read or show the suggestions anonymously to the group. Now the idea stands on its own; no bias is attached. At the end of the meeting, once you have decided on the best ideas, then you can share who submitted them. This technique has produced amazing results and also changed the way people think of others in their company. Imagine if a young person or new person had the best idea … oh, how their “value” to the company just rose in everyone’s eyes.

My second suggestion would be to hand out the list below and explain that these statements cannot be used to “KILL” an idea. They will have to come up with some other reason why the idea should not be considered. AND, don’t forget the most used excuse of all excuses … “But, that’s the way we’ve always done it.” You definitely can’t use that one.

Don’t be ridiculousWe’ve tried that beforeIt can’t be doneThat’s beyond our responsibilityIt’s too radical of a changeWe don’t have the timeWe’re too small for itThat’s not our problemWe’ve never done that before

Let’s get back to realityWhy change, it’s still working fineWe’re not ready for thatIt isn’t in our budgetLet’s form a committeeWe’re doing the best we canWe’ve done alright without itHas anyone else ever tried itIt won’t work in our industry

If you want your company to grow and be successful you need to find ways to get everyone involved in sharing their thoughts without bias. There is NO rule that says: Great ideas can only come from Senior Management.


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