Ideas. We’ve all had some. Some were good, some average, but your best ideas, using our trusted bell-curve to define them, were always the best. You may have been told more than once that your ‘good’ ideas are better than others’.
If this were true, there would be ample evidence that our ‘good ideas’ are transformed into finite creations that the rest of the universe can admire. But how often does this actually occur? This is hard to believe, but maybe your ‘good ideas’ don’t work out as well as you thought.
Have you ever watched young children play sport? Every member of the team receives a trophy at season’s end, even though it is obvious to anyone who has seen them play that certain players are better than others.
It is easy to see why we want to encourage the weaker players to continue playing sport at this age level. However, once we move up a few levels into the professional ranks it becomes less obvious why we would want people to be rewarded for their best ideas.
The modern corporate world has created a bad “good ideas” factory. Ideas can be generated by anyone, and they don’t need to be good. Once everyone in the brainstorming room has a good idea, we can all let out a collective sigh and go home.
There is no such thing as bad ideas… or is there?
Although we live in a time of great thinking, it seems that there is an oversupply with ‘good ideas’. This is due to recent, rapid, radical workplace changes that include an increase in mutual respect for all ages, genders, and roles, mass digitization, and fear of making a mistake. This may lead to the unfortunate side effect that no one really knows what a “good idea” looks like anymore.
According to a Harvard Business Review article, “It is not an idea problem; It’s a recognition issue.” Businesses and organisations are afraid of uncertainty and have rejected any idea that does not guarantee success.
They have given up their creativity in exchange for something more secure, something they believe will win. Here’s the news: There is no sure winner.
This is true for athletes, coaches, sports teams and organisations. Even if a team has talented athletes, great coaches know that they can’t just throw their players on the field and expect them be champions.
Although they can learn the basics of the game, no playbook or rule has ever given them the’sure way to lead a team or give them a strategy to win. Even the most successful coaches have used a variety of coaching methods, from discipline and encouragement to harsh confrontations.
“You must tell them the truth about their performance. You have to do it face-to-face and you have a tendency to repeat it over and over. Sometimes the truth can be painful, and sometimes it can lead to uncomfortable confrontations. It’s okay. You can only change people by telling them clearly what they are doing wrong. Former American football coach Bill Parcells said that if they refuse to listen, they don’t belong on the team.
Parcells’ approach may not be shared by everyone, but it may be used in boardroom pitches and discussions. This is a place where you can’t give out consolation prizes for ‘good ideas’.
Many companies have been led to believe that there is no bad idea. That’s why they don’t debate them. But, shouldn’t they?
Ideas with great potential can’t fly high if there is no one to fight for them. This philosophy is best represented by Elon Musk, who is a living billboard.