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Sometimes I try to kill my own ideas.

Especially with an idea that has major consequences for change and potential, I see what I can do about getting rid of it before we implement it.

It’s important to know:

  • I brought the idea to the table.
  • I believe in it.
  • I likely want it to happen.
  • I heave usually already gotten people excited about it.
  • I energized the team around a potential.

Then I’m attempting to kill it.

  • I’m trying to find holes in the idea.
  • I am questioning the validity of the idea.
  • I’m asking can we afford it, will it work, and is it even a good idea.
  • I may even be causing some to ask if I still support the idea.

Keep in mind – it was my idea.

What’s my point?

I want the idea to stand the test of time and scrutiny.

  • If it survives it has a better chance of succeeding.
  • If it doesn’t then let’s move on to a new idea.

As a leader, I’ve learned I can often get excited about my own ideas. I can get other people excited about my ideas. I can pitch an impressive vision. I can talk a good game. I can motivate people to say yes to my suggestions.

Whether because of position or power of persuasion, I have the ability to excite people around a cause. I can even find ways to justify my idea, even, if necessary, make it appear it was a “God-given” idea. (And who can trump that?)

But the bottom line is I’m capable of being wrong. I’m capable of some really bad ideas. I’m even capable of justifying my personal idea as a “God-idea” when in reality it was as random as the weather in Dallas can be at times. Just being honest.

When an idea hasn’t been tested thoroughly before it meets the vote of the public, and it fails, it puts a strain against my credibility as a leader. If it has been tested, questioned and kicked around thoroughly, especially among the team I lead, then it has the full support of everyone from the beginning. The idea can actually even start to feel like it was their idea – and, therefore, has a better chance of succeeding.

When a team owns the “why” of an idea they are more likely to fight hard to see it succeed.

Have a great idea?

Be the first to try to kill it and see if it’s worth pushing forward.

If it passes the test you’ve got the potential of a great idea.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • I needed to read this Ron. I have made decisions as a leader based on my own ideas that should have possibly been killed in the process.

  • Novel idea. I have never tried this personally. To be frank, I have never thought from this angle. Thanks Ron for this different perspective.

  • Ajiro Jessah says:

    It's difficult to do this when you are interested in getting the job done quickly,you just sell the idea and when they just get excited we try to seal the deal so as to move on to more important things.Going through this process are actually for important decision that need to be weighed before taking.

  • Dave Shannon says:

    I am glad to hear that you do this. It is similar to what we try to do and that is if we get an idea to do something or buy a big ticket item Janet and I make a decision to do or buy and then wait 24 hours or more to see if this is what God is showing us or not. Sometimes we fail but usually we will have peace or find out it was not a good idea. Leadership should always do what you do in some form or fashion. It keeps us honest.

  • This is definitely a great idea. This is my favorite post by you so far. I have thought through the reading of different books that to kill book ideas if they don't mean certain criteria, but I have never thought to try to kill ideas in general though.

  • Interesting perspective. One thing we have been praying lately is "Bless it or burn it God." Different, yet similiar idea. If we are to move forward with something, we want to do so in a way that has full support and will achieve great fruit. If it's not meant to be, so be it. Better to kill it than waste your time spinning your wheels in mediocrity.

  • ronedmondson says:

    I understand. It may begin with the culture of the team. We are very free to dialogue in the negative and positives, speak our minds freely, and somewhat they just have learned I play the devil's advocate. But, for me, I don't present the questions until after momentum has headed towards doing it. By that point, I'm pretty sure we are moving forward with it, but just want to kick it around a while to make sure it's the right thing and not my idea.

    As an example, it was this way about launching a new campus. The first time, we ended up waiting. Two years later, we were at it again, but much more prepared.

  • Bryan K

    I have presented ideas, but wanted to be sure they didn’t it was a “done deal” simply because I brought it to the table, I would also present the down side of the idea. Didn’t meet with the kind of response you’re speaking, though. They seemed to take offense to the notion I was shooting it down. If I didn’t want to do it, don’t bring it up!