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How to Kill off a Great Idea

Naked Leader Week – 209 (w/c Monday 4 June 2007)

How to Kill off a Great Idea

People are not the number one asset in your organisation; they are your only asset – indeed, what is an organisation if not its people?

And it is those people that have the next big idea – the one that will make the big difference between your future success, or your future failure.

More than this, not only do they have the idea itself, they are critical to the speed it can be implemented.

So, what are the pitfalls to watch out for?

A team of innovators in a software company listed the eight best ways to murder a creative idea. This is what they wrote:

 See it coming and change the subject.

 Ignore it. Dead silence intimidates all but the most enthusiastic.

 Feign interest but do nothing about it. This at least prevents the originator from taking it elsewhere.

 Scorn it. (“You’re joking, of course.”) Make sure to get your comment in before the idea is fully explained.

 Laugh it off. (“Ho, ho ho, that’s a good one, Joe. You must have been awake all night thinking that one up.”)

 Praise it to death. By the time you’ve expounded its merits for five minutes everyone else will hate it.

 Mention that it has never been tried before. If the idea is genuinely original, this is certain to be true. Alternatively, say: “If the idea’s so wonderful, why hasn’t someone else already tried it?”

 As an opposite, say: “Oh, we’ve tried that before,” – even if it’s not true. This is particularly effective with newcomers as it makes them realise what complete outsiders they are.

 With thanks to Mary in Glasgow and Andrew in Toronto for sending this to me.

Please, never forget that all of the ideas you ever need are inside you and your people, right now. So, what are you going to do about it?

  1. Share this with your colleagues
  2. Call a true brainstorm meeting with your team
  3. Nothing

With love, as always




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