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Dealing with ideas you just can’t use

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

The hard part of leading a creative team is deflecting ideas that are unrealistic, undeveloped or “not ready for prime time.”

Take these critical steps:
  • Acknowledge all ideas, even if you can’t use them. Failing to acknowledge ideas is the fastest way to discourage people.

  • Provide guidance on how to develop promising ideas. Example: “If you could flesh out the marketing plan a little more, I’ll be happy to consider your idea some more.”

  • Provide a forum for the idea. Let its creator present it to the executive team or a group of clients. That honors the idea and its creator, yet invites other people to critique it.

  • Suggest a next step if you’re not able to use the idea. Example: “I don’t think we’re going to move ahead with your plan because of X,Y and Z. But you showed such a keen knowledge of our customers, I wonder whether you’d be willing to take on this related project.”
Acknowledgment and encouragement keep the creative spark alive.

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