date. october 19, 2022
loccation. the concrete jungle
inkling.10 | Copyright © Stefano Di Lollo
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Not everyone in your meeting or brainstorming session is attempting to crush your idea.
Every idea, every organization, every team, every manager, and every situation has its own context that will determine when and how to pitch a concept, how one should persuade others to buy into it, how hard to push it (especially when getting the buy-in is a challenge), and when to gracefully bow out.
Over the years, I’ve observed that more often than not, people are so determined to impose their ideas onto others, that we tend to shut out important information shared by people if we assume or sense that our idea is being scrutinized, criticized, or rejected. For example, we may perceive individuals who excel at identifying potential obstacles as “Debbie Downers” on a mission to throw a wrench into the works. I’ve even heard the term “idea crushers” used to label these individuals in numerous large corporations and educational institutions. Needless to say, eventually “idea crushers” are no longer invited to participate in group activities they should be a part of. Could this be the instinctive nature of competitive colleagues attempting to derail our momentum? Perhaps. Or, maybe they’re simply copartners highlighting the anticipated or unforeseen deterrents that could get in our way. This provides the opportunity to refine an idea or plan how to course correct. The information could very well be used as scaffolding to build up an idea if we know how to shift our mindset when we feel triggered.
Fortunately, when I began my career as a product designer over 25 years ago, I quickly experienced the benefits (and in turn, I learned the value) of constructive critique. Over the years, I’ve led enough meetings and brainstorming sessions to note that “critiques” remain a practice and skill that many of us struggle with in the workplace. As a result, I was inspired to develop a program that focuses on effectively leading impactful brainstorming sessions within the context of our new workplace realities. In the second module of this program, we touch upon how people show up and how to successfully navigate group activities and facilitate the process with different personality types and communication styles in the room or on screen.
I won't attempt to use this brief post as an opportunity to offer detailed strategies, nor do I want to resort to makeshift "quick tips" or "one-size-fits-all solutions" for a topic that requires deeper exploration and context. Rather, I create inklings as visual catalysts to spark real conversations whether it's in the public comments posted on social media, via direct messages, or in person. Share your thoughts and experiences.
*Every week I create & post a visual representation (an inkling) inspired by my work as an executive coach & leadership development facilitator.