When ideas are killed…
The ‘wet blanket’… most organisations have at least one: the negative person who kills ideas with simple words. Like a fire-fighter, they extinguish ideas, zap energy, and gobble up enthusiasm.
Some of the most successful companies simplify the innovation equation by focusing on outcomes rather than the process itself. Great leaders shape the mind-sets and behaviours needed to achieve big things that have a big impact–and in the process, eradicate wet blankets along the way.
The next time you hear a wet blanket tossed into the mix, throw it back. Ask the individual or group:
- What’s the smallest step we can still take to have the biggest impact, in spite of the identified barrier?
- What’s an example of a previously successful innovation that spread and grew despite the wet-blanket barrier? What success factors could be applied again?
- What have we learned from previous attempts (failed or otherwise) that we can apply this time around?
- What can we proactively do now without permission–and then ask forgiveness for later?
Wet blankets give us all the opportunity to become great leaders – simply by highlighting them, challenging them, and taking action to sidestep the real or perceived barriers they pose. Of course the best way to hang wet blankets out to dry is to make them irrelevant in the first place–not by spending time pontificating on the innovation process itself but rather by taking bold actions to role-model real innovation that beats the market and the competition.
What do you do when someone repeatedly puts out your fire?