Fourth Age Communiqué - Leadership for the rest of us

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Best ways to kill an idea

Surefire ways to crush, kill or otherwise choke the life out of any idea. Or, how to demoralize your peers.

  • Ignore it or its proponent. It might just die from lack of creative oxygen.

  • Criticize it. Nothing shuts people up better, or more quickly, than feeling marginalized.

  • List all the ways the idea is doomed to failure.

  • List all the reasons why it didn't work before, and therefore won't work now.

  • Call it a stupid idea. Which, by inference, means the person who came up with the idea is stupid too. That is what you meant, right?



  • A great list of tactics and ones any innovator/entrepreneur/evangelist will recognize as having been delivered their way. I can think of no anecdotes I have heard which begin, "yeah they all said fantastic lets do it :) "
    Everything needs a little support but sometimes the blinkers come down on the blockers.
    Then its the innovpreneurs job to just plough on around the blockage acting like the internet :)

    By Blogger epredator, at 5:44 AM  

  • Great list. When are the blinkers appropriate and when is it right to address the concerns/objections? That is a tough question.

    I have found that two stakeholders are key to address.

    1. Customers - if you have a better understanding of the customer and have an idea that meets their needs, you have good defense against detraction

    2. Senior Exec Champion - this will help you bludgeon change averse short-sightedness throughout the organization.

    All the best in 2009 to change agents out there. Come read about "Future Business" at

    By Blogger Swan, at 6:36 AM  

  • Agree with you both. Getting a good idea across is as much an art as a skill, and has a whole lot to do with stakeholder buy-in.

    As to exec champion ... I have some thoughts here.

    By Blogger Macker, at 7:39 AM  

  • These are all surefire roadblocks to offering ideas. Here's a post on some other subtle forms of censoring ideas as well. They get used by passive-aggressive people / groups to crush ideas with saying so directly.

    Mike Brown - Brainzooming

    By Blogger Mike Brown, at 1:10 PM  

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