categories: innovation, leadership, staff
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September 9th, 2008

by Bobby Gruenewald

Idea Persistence

I’ve really been enjoying the conversation in your recent Swerve comments. A recent one from Bruce in response to the Theories vs. Ideas post brought up a great point…what I struggle with is making the idea “stick” with those who have the power to implement it. The problem is that I don’t think they really get it. It’s not their own and it is either difficult for them to see the relevance, the importance or the creativity of it. How do I convey my ideas to the powers that be so that they “get it?” I hate using the phrase but how do I “cast the vision” so to speak?

My experience is that leaders who don’t understand something will buy in to the person more than the idea. Buy-in becomes less about persuasion and more about trust.

My advice would be to work to build trust, which I think is best accomplished in many small steps by being faithful with the responsibilities you have. If you can show results based on these smaller tasks, little by little you’ll gain the confidence of your leaders and you’ll be trusted to do the larger ideas. But it likely won’t be on the merits of the idea…but on their trust in you.

It’s easy to get discouraged with a sense of rejection when your ideas aren’t adopted, but trust in the wisdom of your leaders and keep proposing new ones. You never know which one is going to be the breakthrough idea! What advice can you offer to Bruce about how to “lead up” with ideas your leaders don’t fully understand?

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August 28th, 2008

by Bobby Gruenewald

Theories vs. Ideas

I’m an idea guy. It’s one of the few things that I think I can do well. In addition to coming up with ideas, I love to implement them and see/measure the results. If you ask my team, I’m confident they would tell you I’m fairly impatient at seeing an idea go from concept to completion.

I get the opportunity to talk with some pretty smart people who have interesting theories. Based solely on my interaction with theorists, I’d describe or define theories as ideas that will never be acted on. I know that’s not an accurate definition…just one that helps me not get too caught up in the theory of things.

What are some of your theories about ideas?

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