Ideas are scary. “They are the natural born enemy of the way things are.” This video from GE personifies an idea – that strange, unknown thing that’s on the table for consideration even though you don’t quite know what to do with it. What’s remarkable is the way that the idea in the video, as in real life, becomes this fragile, loveable thing that you want to hug. That you want to welcome into your office and give it a place to be.
GE’s right. Ideas are scary. They are the opposite of Checking the Box, the antithesis of Like We’ve Always Done. People want ideas…but they aren’t prepared for the fact that ideas can be frightening. So what can we learn from GE’s adorable, plumed Idea?
PREPARE – Know what people’s pain points will be with the idea, and prepare yourself for tackling those objections with sound judgment. (Note: This does not include “Because it would be so cool.” Even if it would be.)
PATIENCE – When presenting ideas, be patient with your audience’s discomfort. Answer their questions thoughtfully.
PROTECTION – Protect your idea mentally. This is not the same as being defensive. You may have to let the idea go – it might not be the right time or the right fit. But know that your idea is valid, and your creativity is valid.
PERPETUATE – The more you share ideas, the more comfortable people will get with your ideas. Keep ushering in that big pink fuzzy thing with its feathery tail into meetings for consideration. Be proud of it. Hug it even after a meeting when it gets rejected. Have a drink with it at the bar after a particularly rough meeting. And then take it back to your office until it’s time to bring ideas out again.
Ideas can be awkward, strange and uncomfortable. They come out half-formed, off the top of your head, in a eureka moment that sounds so much less eureka when it’s said out loud. But believe in them. They’ll take you great places.
Think big. Think fearlessly.