Last week I released a blog about learning to overcome the natural human tendency of “Being Right” so that we can make mistakes with a smile. Another detrimental human tendency that we must overcome in order to grow as a person and as a leader is the tendency to block ideas that are not our own.
For example, last year we had a vendor create a design for our first processing line. At the same time we had another vendor come up with a different design. When we brought the two together for brainstorming, the first vendor immediately started rattling off all of the reasons why the other design would not work. All of his brain power and problem solving skills were focused on proving why his idea was the best rather than using all of the creative ideas on the table to find the right solution. The solution ended up including ideas from both parties, but the first vendor’s mind set earned him a ticket off the bus.
I have also talked to business owners who are afraid to make recommendations to their team because they know they will not embrace any idea other than a self-generated one. I have witnessed managers before that will literally sabotage a vendor if it was “forced” on them from a superior. Rather than embracing the idea of potentially strengthening their network of vendors they would rather harm the vendor and the company because it wasn’t their idea.
A few months ago we were planning a new ventilation system at our bagging plant. During the planning process, a local guy walked in and said, “Why don’t y’all just mount a few chicken fans on that wall over there?” It was an incredible idea, and we ended up saving tons of time and thousands of dollars. Rather than being defensive over our ideas, we used his idea in combination with ours to create a better one.
I challenge you to create awareness around the natural tendency to block ideas that are not your own. Instead of viewing other ideas as a threat, combine them with your own to create something better.