10 Ways to Bury a Good Idea

Certainly, not all ideas are great.  But, many are.  And too often they get buried before they have a chance to fly.  Have you heard any of these lame excuses lately when you presented a new or innovative idea?  Or worse, have you been guilty of using any of these lines?

1.  We’ve never done it that way before.

2.  It will never work.

3. Things are fine the way they are.

4.  Why change if we don’t really need to?

5. We’re not ready for this?

6. That’s not our responsibility.

7.  I can’t get the funding.

8.  We can’t afford the time.

9.  I can’t really think about one more thing right now.

10. We need more data.

In your experience as a leader, why do people fear new ideas?


About Steve Morgan

I work in Global Leadership Development with Cru with my wife, Terry. We have been married 30 years and have 4 grown children. We have a Masters in Global Leadership together through Azusa Pacific University. I generally write about 5 “L’s: Living Well, Loving Deeply, Learning Continuously, Leading Courageously and Leaving a Legacy. I occasionally write about Laughing Loudly. Subscribe on the right side to receive an email whenever there is a new post. I invite you to leave your comments so we can dialogue on the various topics and learn from each other. If you are new to the site, you might start with looking at some of the top posts or doing a search on the right side bar for one of the 5 “L’s” that interest you. Or you can view the blog archives for topics. Photo Credit: sarahjoellephotography.com
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8 Responses to 10 Ways to Bury a Good Idea

  1. They fear new ideas for many of the reasons you listed… overwhelmed already, fear of failure, or fear of others’ reactions… Nothing wrong with thinking it through well first, but a leader needs to be able to take action and move ahead. Great thought provoking post!

    • Steve Morgan says:

      The thinking it through part I have learned from you! You need that part to make the good idea fly. Without that part, a good idea just stays, well…a good idea.

  2. DougL says:

    Good post. I guess I need to tell you of my latest “Good Idea”. When are you coming to Orlando?

  3. Andrea says:

    Often, people don’t see what you see. They may not have the same information that you have. You may see the risks of staying the same and the cost to the mission. Lots of people don’t see that, and it’s the leader’s job to help them see what’s in that view. Apart from that, people love comfort!!

    • Steve Morgan says:

      Yes, and I love comfort too, but comfort loses its appeal and can turn to boring after a while. That moves me out of comfort to restlessness to want change for more significant endeavors to move the mission forward. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Rick Maurer says:

    I focus on resistance to change in my work in organizations and identified three reasons why people resist. To put it succinctly: 1. They don’t get it, 2. They don’t like it, or, 3. They don’t like you.
    Andrea described Level 1 quite well. “Often, people don’t see what you see. They may not have the same information that you have.” . And Terry captures the essence of Level 2: “They fear new ideas for many of the reasons you listed… overwhelmed already, fear of failure, or fear of others’ reactions…” But Level 3 – lack of trust or confidence in the person or group presenting the change often gets overlooked. I find that when leaders develop good Level 3 relationships (people trust them) people give them the benefit of the doubt. It can make a big difference.
    Key to all of this is my belief that resistance occurs in the relationship. Resistance is not a personality type. All of the items on your list can get evoked by leaders introducing change incorrectly. On the other hand, those leaders who take the three levels into account often find that people understand what they’re talking about and fears don’t get triggered as strongly.

    • Steve Morgan says:

      Hey Rick, Thanks for your insightful summary. You did a great job synthesizing Andrea and Terry’s comments. Your third level is new, and yet not new. Much of the focus on change tends to be on change strategies and methods. But leadership is about relationships, so it would make sense that leading people through change would include a relational level. Thanks for bringing that into the conversation.

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