“I have been in this business for 30 years and I’m certain that your idea is crap. It will never work because it hasn’t worked before.”
Such statements work perfectly as nails to the coffin of the particular company the person who made this statement works for. Companies that are not refining themselves are going to die sooner or later. But that is not my topic today. I’m focusing on the attitude of people who made statements like “That’s not the way we operate here.” or “We have always done this like that.”. Regardless of the quality of the specific idea, I’m asking myself what people are driven by when they force themselves to these (killer)-statements.
Anxiety of change kills entrepreneurship
Maybe there’s anxiety in the game and this person fears change itself. Or it’s about pointing out who makes the decisions. Perhaps the manager has some bad experience with entrepreneurship or just learned this behaviour long ago from another person. If none of these personal motives are applicable, it could simply be about hidden corporate politics.
But when is it right to tell somebody what they should do based on personal opinions or knowledge and when do you let young employees make own decisions and experiences? What’s the value of the own opinion compared to others opinions? There is perhaps no general answer to that. I’m convinced that the main duty of the executive is to support entrepreneurship and create the possibilities for employees to execute their ideas.
Checking out execution skills is worth the failure
Apart from that there’s more a lack of execution than a lack of ideas. And what I mean by that is that it’s far better to try out an average idea than just having a great one and do nothing about it. The opportunity for managers to check the execution skills of their team members is worth every failure. Even when the person in charge had a bad feeling about it in the first place. I would love a world where every manager had eliminated frames like “This idea will never work.” from their vocabulary.
What do you think? Let me know!