Societal issues, clash of ideologies, fundamentalism, political engagement (or lack of it), organizational innovation, Leadership 2015, no matter what direction you look at, ‘it’s ideas, stupid’.
You see? To generate ideas has always been a bit dismissed in Old Corporate. Of course people will say that this is rubbish, but it’s not. Old Corporate puts a premium on action, adrenaline, doing, meeting targets, outcomes, demonstrating effort and the rest. Ideas are presupposed, a sort of necessary evil that precedes those actions.
How many times you and I may have seen ‘the thinker’ in organizations as a sort of benign alien who has not feet on the ground. ’He has grand ideas’ often meant not reliable, or not as much as the ones who ‘actually do the work’, or as some say, pay the bills.
However, cliché or not, this is a Century of Ideas. Not that we are lacking them, but we still need to put a premium on them. Idea capturing and sharing, knowledge acquisition, wisdom spread…they were, and are, the Holy Grail. Many people (individuals, groups, functions, line and staff groups) who claim to own new ideas, have in fact recycled old ones. Their ideas may travel with spider’s web attached. The real new, new ones, may be just a bit frightening. But, who would be afraid of an old ‘well tried idea’?
We need new and fresh ideas all the time, as we need oxygen. Tell the ones who say that we need ‘less ideas and more action’ to join the Robotic Club. Tell the ones who say ‘good idea but’, to go butting somewhere else and dwell more on the idea without the but. Don’t be afraid of ideas because you may not know how to put them in action. It’s the wrong problem.
When you see ideas (sources, people, places, print, digital, blogs, public speaking, conversations, active brains, gatherings, fora) get them. Make room. Open the doors. Welcome them and make them welcome. Always have spare ‘physical headcounts’, like spare rooms for those who may pop in at the door in their journeys.
I have never met a good CEO in my entire consulting life who, in front of an extraordinary individual says ‘sorry, I don’t have a headcount for you’. I said good.
GE Capital, in India, has that sign: ‘Trespassers will be recruited’. This is the 21st Century threat that you can send around: competitors, markets, partners, associates, employees, potential employees. That is your four-word strategy for the New Year. Your perhaps belated Christmas card.