Saturday, March 28, 2009

Graveyard of Good Ideas

Originally uploaded by (Erik)

I was talking with a friend of mine, Steve, who made the comment that often good ideas go to the graveyard of good ideas in large corporations. The idea intrigued me. He has a point.

Over at Tim Jahn's blog there is a great example of a good idea being sent straight to the graveyard. Why? Because ShutterBooth seemed more concerned about keeping up with their competitors than setting themselves apart. Plain and simple.

Think about it:

  • Anytime you're told, "That's a good idea. We'll look into it." by your manager, there's a good chance your idea is going to the graveyard.
  • When a large corporation calls in consultants to advise them on what they can do to improve their workplace then pay the consultant and say, "We'll certainly review your suggestions.", those suggestions are on their way to the graveyard.
  • If there is no follow up on your presentation, your ideas are on the fast pace toward the graveyard.
So what to do if you have a good idea, but it seems destined for the graveyard? In my opinion you have a few things to consider.
  • Let it die. Sometimes a good idea isn't that good at all. Be honest with yourself and others if you come to this realization and let it die.
  • Go around the naysayers. It might be your peer. It could be your manager. It really doesn't matter. If you are persistent enough you can work around the naysayer. You just have to be smart about it. Get others on board. Slowly implement pieces of your plan. It can happen.
  • Establish trust. If you haven't proven that you are trustworthy, or that your co-workers can rely on you to get the simple things finished, your idea won't have legs. You may have the best idea in the world, but without trust, it will go to the graveyard.
  • Build a team around your idea. You may not be able to implement your proposals company wide, but you might be able to assemble a team (or tribe). Work within the parameters of your company, but work with your team to reflect your values, ideas, and goals for the company. If it flourishes, soon enough, everyone else will take note.
Have a great idea? Have some changes that need to be made? Are you working to improve your company? Make sure you're doing what you can to avoid the graveyard of good ideas.

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