Erroneous Assumption #3: The Best Ideas Win Out
In previous posts I’ve already discussed
- Erroneous Assumption #1: The Facts Speak for Themselves, and
- Erroneous Assumption #2: Knowledge Is Power
Now I’d like to address Erroneous Assumption #3: The Best Ideas Win Out.
No one I’ve worked with has ever said stated this assumption in so many words. But many of my clients have acted as if it’s so true it doesn’t need to be articulated. They act as if all they have to do is come up with a really good idea, and that’ll be enough. When it comes time to make a presentation about their idea — to get approval, say, to start a project or to win funding for the next phase of their work — they slap something together at the last minute (usually a bunch of PowerPoint slides) and do their best. Which usually isn’t very good, since they’ve spent so little time and thought planning what they’re going to say or building support among the power players.
And then they’re amazed and disheartened when their proposal gets shot down. And what irks them most is the fact that someone else’s idea — an idea that isn’t nearly as good as their own — gets the attention and approval they think their idea deserves.
Good ideas often get ignored or passed over, while less worthy ones win attention and approval. It happens all the time.
If your idea is better than everyone else’s and someone else’s idea wins out, it isn’t that person’s fault. It’s yours. It’s your responsibility both to have a good idea and to communicate it so people 1) understand it, 2) realize its benefits, and 3) know how to act on it.
In future posts I’ll look at another aspect of winning people’s support — the politics involved. For now, do you have any reactions or questions? Have you had good ideas passed over for no good reason at all?