Creating ideas is half the battle… Pitching them and getting buy in – is a whole different story

Publication 14, Issue 3

Some people make things happen, some wait for things to happen, and others say, “What the hell happened?!”  We are who we are – and I accept and live by that!  For me, at the core of making things happen is the “idea.”  The impact of our ideas makes things better, solves problems, results in the creation of new things and helps us fashion new from old.  Ideas can be big, small, even life changing.

So why do ideas cause so much stress in organizations?   On a recent The Big Bang Theory (yes, I watch the show), Sheldon and Leonard had an intellectual battle about ideas: What’s more important, the inspiration of an idea or its implementation?  Of course, there is no right or wrong answer.  The juice for Sheldon as an Organizer—he of the Roommates’ Agreement, the requirement to knock three times, etc.—is the implementation, and the juice for Leonard as a Steamroller is the inspiration and the journey!  So you can see how introducing new ideas can cause strain in a relationship!

Ideas usually get a workout at the office.  We brainstorm ideas. They get categorized, kicked around, even ridiculed, stomped on or thrown out!  Sometimes we judge them:  “Oh that will never work,” or “We tried that before.”  Sometimes they block us from doing something great because the idea opens uncharted territory and we don’t want to have to push that rock uphill or fight the bureaucracy.  But an idea usually is the key to unlocking something great, and while ideas don’t have to be groundbreaking, some have revolutionized the way we live, from the Industrial Revolution to the smartphone and everything in between!  Who would have thought we’d be able to pay for our coffee with our phone?!

Here’s how each Playground Personality will receive an idea:

Peacemakers – might say, “That’s nice, did you talk to Joe or Jane?”

Organizers – will ask a barrage of questions and if they don’t receive answers, they’ll say, “Let me know when you’ve worked out all the details!”

Revolutionaries – will question the idea’s “reality” and will have a “wait and see” moment until the idea gets closer to being implemented.

Steamrollers – will challenge it, always, either with another idea or evidence as to why it won’t work!

So, why do some great ideas never get off the ground?  The secret is in the “pitch.” Know what motivates you first, then your boss, your staff, and other stakeholders. Tailor your words and actions to motivate each Playground Personality and achieve the buy-in and acceptance you are looking for.  Here’s a framework for pitching your idea to the different members of your audience.

Peacemakers – State your idea and give people a chance to offer feedback.

Organizers – Be clear and concise and state up front that you don’t have all the answers.

Revolutionaries – Talk about the idea and the “holes” in the idea and get some conversations going.

Steamrollers – Draw a picture or diagram and be ready for the intellectual challenge or pushback.

When you’re ready to pitch your next idea at a team meeting, listen to everyone, make an outline, talk about what could go wrong, and create a visual aid.  By tapping into all of the Playground Personalities, you’ll soar!

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