Monday, December 15, 2008

How to destroy an idea in 10 minutes. . .

You wake up one day and you decide that you have had it with change. You commit to avoid anything that looks new or different. You don't quite know why, but it is as real to you as the steaming coffee you hold in your hand. You say with conviction, "Today I am going to be happy with the same things that I enjoyed yesterday!"

Once you arrive at your the office, and you settle into your chair to go through emails. But to your dismay, the first thing to pop up in your email box is a note from one of your "innovative" co-workers. You hesitate to open it, but in the end your curiosity gets the best of you.

So you click, you read and then you sit back in your chair and think. In the email your friend shared with you a new idea. The friend shares it with passion and with quite a few BOLD words and !!!!!!!! - you can tell he is excited.

You also know that this idea will change your world. If you join him on this adventure, the whole department will be impacted. The whole organization might adopt this concept and change.

So you think . . .

Then it comes to you. Instead of doing all that work to join this friend and his new idea, there is an easy out. You look at the email again and you say, "Wow, he has guts recommending this. I wonder what his motives are? I wonder if he really has our best interests in mind or if he is just looking for some more of the limelight?"

You continue your internal interrogation of this co-worker and within a few minutes you have accomplished your goal. Your mind convicted him of being self-centered, ambitious and prideful.

You say, "There that was easy!" and you continue on going through your email.

Change averted . . . idea destroyed . . . innovator tarnished.

Author Note: We have all had moments like I have written about above. You can admit it, don't be afraid. In those moments where we fear a new idea or a change, we decide to turn someone's passion into pride and in the process we turn our own status quo behavior into a humble badge of honor. By judging motives we hold great power to destroy people and ideas.

Why do we do this? There are many reasons. The important thing is that we understand our fears and our reactions so that we can change them. If this little story connects with you, share your experience . . .

1 comment:

Howard Merrell said...

Been there, done that.
Yet, to only apply this syndrome to change-killing, defensive type thinking would be inaccurate.
With just a few changes your article could apply to those who tar suggestions to "stay the course" with stodgey. over conservative motives.
Obviously, the status-quo is the default condition, or as one wag put it, "Latin for the mess we're in," but change is not necessarily virtuous.
What we need is an ethic that compells us to evaluate ideas, new or old, on their virtues.