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Weigh it before you say it

(January 2013) posted on Tue Jan 29, 2013

Come up with ways to encourage and recognize the dedicated people who want your operation to flourish and are generous enough to share their ideas with you.


By Ben P. Rosenfield

“That idea is ahead of its time.”

Those who are afraid of newness toss around statements like that. By saying an idea is ahead of its time, in hopes of squashing it, you’re actually announcing that you’re set in your ways—right or wrong—and have no room for innovation or improvement. If you’ve shrugged off employees with that phrase, have they approached you since with other ideas?

I submit that every business can be better in some way and that all businesses can accommodate the consideration, if not the hands-on trial, of new and creative ideas. Stifling a healthy what-if culture by labeling fresh thoughts as “ahead of their time” is a great way to destroy the morale of employees who care enough about the business to contemplate its future and how to improve things in the short and long term.

Weigh it before you say it. That means you need to weigh the merit of the idea being presented and the impact of the response you feel immediately inclined to give—and you need to do it before you say anything. At the very least, taking a day or two to give the idea some thought shows you’re not a fuddy-duddy or a so-and-so.

When you write off an idea as being ahead of its time, you’re actually complimenting the idea’s source while insulting yourself. Perhaps, then, you should come up with ways to encourage and recognize the dedicated people who want your operation to flourish and are generous enough to share their ideas with you.
 


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