The power of someone else’s idea
I remember the day I had an idea. A big idea! An idea that lead to me starting a business. I spent all my time trying to make that idea a real thing. I have spent the last few years of my life building a business, an idea I had for a digital agency. An agency that would help business succeed in a digital world. Its been an incredible journey and one that I spent every waking minute creating. I poured my heart and soul into making that idea a real thing. Something that had a real impact on the world. That idea became my reason to wake up, to go to work, to read, to hire, to teach, and to speak. Everything inside me wanted it to become a reality.
As I have built a team over the years I have learnt an important lesson. It doesn’t matter how much I love my idea, how much I believe in it or how much time I spend getting you to believe it. If I focus on trying to convince people about my idea the best I can hope for is a few people keen to work with me, who can share the work load of my idea. I have worked with many people you have liked my ideas and even believed in them a lot. These people have been incredibly valuable to me in trying to get my ideas off the ground but there was something missing.
The missing piece was not my idea, it was someone else’s idea.
In order to build something transformative you need to build a team of passionate people. I always thought this meant casting my vision to people so that they caught it and started doing everything to make it a reality. I have recently learnt that its much more valuable to draw the ideas out of others. To share enough information to explain the need I’m trying to solve. To help them see the same need I see. Then to wait for their thoughts and ideas about how they can solve the problem.
When its their idea, people start to resemble a similar picture of what I was like in the starting paragraph of this article. They become consumed with the notion of turning their idea into a reality. A passionate person, focused on a problem they believe they can solve, is one of the most powerful assets any team can have. Problems are met with solutions, limited resources are no longer a problem, creative thinking is a norm and its never ok to simply accept defeat.
Its true, when people start to build their own solutions into your dream, that you will have a whole new host of problems. These problems however are worth having in the light of a dedicated, passionate team who want to solve the problems they see in the world.
So next time you sit down to cast your vision maybe try a different approach. Why not take the time to collectively discuss the problems you face, instead of offering solutions, action plans, accountability programmes and mentoring programmes… wait… wait for the ideas to come from your team.
I am certain that you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the increase in commitment from your team. I am sure you will find the joy I have found in watching a team of people working together, with resolute vigour, towards your collective goals.
To use the age old analogy of a lightbulb for an idea.
The people who support your idea help you burn brighter, but no matter how bright you burn you are still only one bulb. When others bring their own ideas to the table its like many lightbulbs spread around, lighting up the whole room. Each doing their own job the best they can and collectively your creating a bigger impact, a more interesting ambiance, a more creative solution and a more robust solution.
Ultimately, the more time you spend helping people win the more your will find yourself winning along the way.
Find other lessons like this one in my latest book The Five Year Mark