Got An Idea? What Do You Do With it?

So . . . you’ve got an idea – fantastic!

Maybe or maybe not . . . it depends.

The Gift of Great Ideas

Ideas have given us the wheel, steam engines, televisions, telephones and trips to space – you’d think that having an idea is terrific!

And we do applaud the great inventors of the world, and we shower great praise on some people who have come up with some people in our “entourage” too!

The Danger of Having a Great Idea

However, be careful . . . not everyone may like it when you present a great idea – that’s right – they won’t.  As surprising as that might seem, many, many people have experienced the wrath of those who feel “threatened” by a new and better idea in their workplaces or your homes.  Danger!  Danger!  Danger!

If someone feels threatened by your fabulous creative mind, at the least, they’ll laugh at you or try to discredit you and your idea right there and then.   Remember what happened when it was suggested the earth was round instead of flat?

The more dangerous are the “subversives” – those people who seem to welcome your new idea but who plot and scheme to make your life miserable or get rid of you.

Why?  Because they somehow interpret the presentation of your great idea as a personal attack on them and see it as something which makes them look bad.  Looking bad for some people is worse than death itself!  Their insecurities simply cannot afford to applaud the gifts of others.

One of the greatest landmine locales exists in the workplace where you never really know who is for or against you. People smile, go for a drink after work and are even pleasant to all around them.  But which ones are wearing the “smiling mask” and which ones have a “genuine smile” – you can’t tell.  The phony mask people expect others to support them and compliment them but when the praise and adulation goes to someone else, they are incensed – quietly and lethally!  They will do all they can to sabotage your work and your status in the organization – slowly but surely.

What To Do?

So what do you do with your great ideas?  Keep them to yourself until you have made a thorough assessment of who is who in your workplace, how they react to others introducing ideas, and who can receive ideas well with the power to act upon them.  It’s not always obvious.  In other words, you really, really have to get to know people you work with very, very well = what lurks in their hearts and souls!

Yes, it seems odd, doesn’t it?  A lot of management books talk about how ideas are critical to business and how ideas power the enterprise.  In real life, however, it’s much different.  And you’d think that the non-profit or government would be the safest place of all to present great ideas – you’d be dead wrong!  There is no safe place.

Your Alternatives

a)  Observe and learn all you can about the “players” in your company.  Slowly, develop relationships with people whom you have identified as possible supporters with the power to move forward with ideas.  Carefully craft a plan on how you will introduce your ideas and how you will benefit from them.

a)  Research and connect with people in other companies until you find an environment which is open to ideas and the development of those ideas.  Once you find such an enterprise, secure a job.  However, you’ll have to do the same – learn the politics of the workplace.

c)  Take your ideas, write them down and develop them on your own while you are still employed.  Today, there are many outlets for doing precisely that on the internet.  You’ll benefit personally from all your “intellectual property” and offend no one because no one needs to know.  Imagine an idea of yours creating a second income for you or possibly setting you on a better financial footing!

You don’t believe me?  Take a look at the info commercials or go to your county fair in the marketplace section where people are selling incredible new products outside the mainstream.  You won’t find the big corporations there but you’ll find innovation.

At our fair this year, I saw something quite common and yet someone “packaged” it differently — a one-person operation displaying the ingenuity of a single idea.  There he was standing in his booth and his product was flying off his stand.  What was it?  A bird house – that’s right a bird house.  He had pre-cut the pieces to making 3 styles of birdhouses.  People selected the style they wanted and inside the plain plastic bag were the pieces, the instructions, the hanger and the nails.  All people needed was something to pound the nails in – and . . . voila! a birdhouse for their backyard or local park – ready to go!  They were made of cedar wood which would withstand all weather conditions and the birdhouses could even be painted.  A simple idea.  Imagine presenting that to a big corporation.  This man made a lot of money – he was at his stand for 2 weeks with masses of people passing by and buying.

What could you do with your idea?  Write an ebook?  Create a product?  Create a workshop?

Yes, there is danger in expressing ideas and there can also be vast rewards if you are protective and cautious about protecting your ideas and possibly turning them into a money-making enterprise outside the workplace.

What will you do with your idea?

Lorraine Arams

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