Playing idea ring toss

by  Jane Perdue  |  Leadership Development

Why isn’t anyone doing anything with my ideas???

I’m hearing this lament over and over lately in the groups where I’m working.idea ring toss

My question back is: what are YOU doing with YOUR idea?

Did you toss it out there, expecting others to happily and eagerly adopt it and start working on it immediately?


Did you chat it up with a few people to test their response? And when their reaction wasn’t unfavorable, did you expect them to start acting on it right away?     


Are you passionate enough about your idea to retain ownership of it and actively work it yourself?

Ideas are different from orders and other top-down driven directives or instructions. I see executing against a boss’ command as not being voluntary whereas moving forward with someone’s idea is.

Ideas are thoughts, suggestions, or concepts, which, because they aren’t concrete, make them fragile.

So especially so when they’re tossed out with the unspoken expectation that someone other than the idea-generator will be responsible for turning the concept into reality.

Everyone is in love with their own idea. ~Carl Jung

If you find yourself bemoaning the fact that you don’t see anyone implementing your ideas, consider these three points.

Beware the unspoken expectation

Don’t quietly assume that people will automatically take action on your idea. If it’s truly an idea, people have the freedom to accept or reject it. Even if they like or accept it, that’s no guarantee that they’ll move on it. If your expectations include action, make those intentions known. Talk it out. Clarify. Secure commitment.

Words do two major things: They provide food for the mind and create light for understanding and awareness. ~Jim Rohn

Be a passionate grower

Plant your idea like a good gardener would. Assure the conditions are right. Provide nurturing. Check in periodically. Good ideas can be contagious, especially those where people can clearly see how the outcome makes a positive difference. People may even want to claim your idea as their own!

Be the one who nurtures and builds. ~Marvin J. Ashton

Own it

If your idea is meaningful and you’re invested in turning the thought into something tangible, make it so yourself. Your heartfelt commitment can serve as a magnet to pull others into your good idea.

And that’s when the real magic happens.

A pile of rocks ceases to be a rock when somebody contemplates it with the idea of a cathedral in mind. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

About The Author

Articles By jane-perdue
Jane is a leadership futurist and well-mannered maverick who challenges stereotypes, sacred cows, gender bias & how we think about power. She loves chocolate, TED, writing, kindness, paradox and shoes.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Michelle Spear  |  10 Jul 2013  |  Reply

Nice blog Jane! It’s amazing how often we get discouraged when people don’t fall over themselves to implement our ideas! This is a clear case of lead by example. If we aren’t using/living our ideas, why should anyone else?

Jane Perdue  |  10 Jul 2013  |  Reply

Thanks for your kind words and apt observations, Michelle! If we want to happen, we have to own it…and that includes working our own ideas!

E Boineau  |  10 Jul 2013  | 

So well put, Jane. The creative process is sometimes singular, yet mostly the result of a solid team effort. When you pick the right partners and share thoughtful ideas, they contribute theirs. Then, when it’s more fully baked, you have a tasty cake. But someone has to get all of the ingredients stirring up in the bowl to start the process. With trusted and loyal clients and biz partners, never an issue. However, there are exceptions in the new biz realm. The process of “owning” ideas is fascinating and challenging indeed.

Jane Perdue  |  14 Jul 2013  | 

Love your metaphor of cooking and creativity! It does take the right mix of ingredients, time and nurturing in the ‘new normal’ to turn ideas into reality while building teamwork and engagement simultaneously. Big thanks for adding richness to the dialogue!

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