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Ego-free ideation

By Jason Yavorska on November 15, 2023

After reading Dimitri Glazkov's piece called Weak Opinions, Strongly Held, I started thinking about how we all handle suggestions at work. It's not just about those ideas from the higher-ups; sometimes, a concept can snowball from anywhere in the team, taking on a life of its own.

Whiteboard against a window

The real trick is learning to navigate these ideas, to question and explore them no matter who suggests them. It's about separating the idea from the ego. We've all seen a so-so idea get traction just because it's presented well or comes from someone popular in the team. But let's face it, not every idea is a winner.

So, how do we handle this? It's all about the approach. When you need to push back on an idea, do it with respect. Frame your feedback in a way that focuses on the idea, not the person. For example, try saying, "I see where you're coming from, but have we considered this angle...?" It's about being constructive, not confrontational.

And here's a thing for leaders: foster a culture where every idea is up for a healthy debate. Encourage your team to speak up, to bring different perspectives. Remember, it's not just about hearing every voice; it's about genuinely considering those viewpoints.

Let's build teams where ideas are weighed based on their merit, not their origin. Whether it's a junior team member or a senior exec, a good idea can come from anywhere, and a not-so-great one can too. The key is creating a space where we can respectfully challenge each other, leading to better, well-rounded solutions.

So, let's get comfortable with the uncomfortable – questioning, refining, and sometimes even discarding ideas, no matter where they come from. It's all in pursuit of the best outcome.
Here's to creating a workspace where every idea gets its moment in the sun, and the best ones truly shine!