You come to me with ideas
You say they’re just pieces, so I’m puzzled
– Eminem (Dr Dre – I Need a Doctor)
People usually respond in one of 2 ways to hearing about a new idea. Either they say “how can this work” or they say “this can’t work because of X”. One reaction opens a dialog and the other shuts it down. Some people don’t understand that the idea itself doesn’t matter, it’s just a jumping off point for a conversation. When the conversation is shut down and you end up having to defend the basic validity of having an idea – it really kills the mood.
It’s just an idea for god’s sakes!
Ideas aren’t inherently bad or good, they are jumping off points for thinking. Who can say which of a barrage of ideas was the one that led to a radical solution to a tough problem? Nobody. It’s just too fluid to judge. The conversation around the idea is what is important and is vital to expanding how we think through problems and the interact with the world around us.
This simple reaction has become a simple test when meeting and hiring new people and it has proved remarkably adapt at predicting how well we’ll get along.