The young leader came racing in my office, his “great idea” bursting from his heart. He had a plan and was ready to go. I listened to his enthusiastic outburst with mixed emotions. He had energy, passion, and commitment. Good start. But, it was a stupid idea.
My inside voice screamed…
- No way
- This idea will never work
- I’ve seen this movie before (it doesn’t end well)
- He hasn’t thought this through
- He’s such a rookie
- Bless his heart
Then two more thoughts.
How do I challenge his thinking while sustaining his passion?
What if he’s right?
Stupid Ideas as Sparks
- ignite possibility
- scaffold from experience
- ask important questions
- inspire past stupid
Sustain the Passion, Question the Process
9 Steps for Supporting a Stupid Idea
- Acknowledge “wow” be impressed by the passion, committment and energy
- Listen with an open mind
- Ask lots of questions (tone matters here).
- Why this? (start with genuine curiosity)
- What’s the bigger issue?
- Why is this approach best?
- Who’s involved so far?
- Who should be?
- What resources are required?
- What are the potential side effects?
- Be honest in your apprehension.. share your concerns from a loving place
- Clarify the vision, and brainstorm additional ways to get there
- Listen more
- Consider a pilot
- Allow time to think
- Set up time to meet again
What would you add?