Q: Why is it so hard to introduce new ideas? It seems as though I have my whole team against me when I suggest new ways of doing things.
A: We often feel as if nobody is buying into our ideas and it can be frustrating. Many people judge an idea too early. They have their auto-pilot on and they think that it doesn’t make sense to do something in a new way. This is because they interpret the idea using the knowledge and experience they have stored from previous projects and work. We have had many years to learn what we believe is possible and how things work…
To open up the minds of others you first need to acknowledge that many people don’t know the language of creativity and do your best to work around that. They might have very limited experiences working with new ideas, creative ideas and innovation.
- My first tip is to become more positive to other people’s new ideas yourself. For example, always say that you would love to hear more when someone is telling you about a new idea. This will make them more open to your ideas in return. You need to say: “Yes, please tell me more”, “That sounds brilliant, how can we explore it further?” This will change the whole conversation and you will work better with the resources you have available. Often we say “Yes, but we tried that before and it didn’t work” or “Yes, but there’s no budget for that”. These “buts” put people off and can make them stop working on their idea.
- My second tip is to let ideas grow on their own terms before you evaluate them. Far too often we judge an idea when it’s just born and before we can truly say in which direction it will take us. Many great ideas have been dismissed to early and are judged without any proper development work going into them. So let ideas grow and develop more freely.
- My third tip is to identify who your champions are. Who naturally gives you positive and valuable feedback? This is the kind of people you need to talk to more often. In the past I presented my new ideas to negative people first and, of course, that didn’t help my confidence and I would become convinced that my idea was flawed. Now I know who my champions are and I use them to help me to develop and improve an idea so that it will go the distance and this creates the extra support the idea needs early on. Then, when I present the idea to people with a more critical attitude, it’s more likely to survive.
Never underestimate the power of saying yes to new ideas in a forceful way. It works. And find your champions and start to nurture your relationships with them.
You can control your attitude to new ideas, and you can influence the people you meet by being an idea champion yourself.
Let me know if you have any questions about digital/social media or creativity! I will do my best to answer them. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org