Sunday, June 3, 2012

If You Dream It, You Must Bring It

Are you "that" guy or gal who is always thinking of creative activities or solutions? 

Chances are you've been told a time or two, "That's a great idea...go run with that." Or as the title reads, "If you dream it, you must bring it." In other words, don't give out ideas unless you're ready to put some skin in the game. 

I was in a conversation with a leader this week and we discussed this concept. I thought I'd share two quick observations:
  • The wisdom here is warranted. But blindly expecting a "creative" to pull off an idea alone is poor leadership. First, no one person is as smart as all of us...also known as Collective Intelligence or Crowd Sourcing.
“I'm not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.” - Theodore Roosevelt
The other reason this isn't the best strategy is that creatives tend to not be detail-oriented. I recently saw where the Burberry company will take their creatives off-site, put in a room and say, "dream and dream big." Then they go to the wise, seasoned leadership team and say, "This is where we want to go...take us there." Welcome creativity, but also bring in the right people to create the right results.
  • If a creative is always expected to back up their suggestions with results, they will tend to keep their ideas to themselves or at best be more selective with what they share. While this may be the desired result of someone trying to lead a creative, you have to wonder how many ideas you have missed out on that may have been GREAT ones for your organization. Leaders need to find a way to allow creatives to share their ideas with the understanding that not all of them will work. Truth is, most creatives know that. They just need to download their ideas and keep trying.  Here's a previous post on that topic.
Jim Collins teaches that leadership is getting the right people on the bus and then getting them in the right seat. As a leader, how much attention do you give to your team members and where they best fit on the "bus?"

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