“I have an IDEA” vs. “I have a CONCERN”

In meetings, what do you suppose the ratio is at your company today between these two phrases? What do you think the ratio was five years ago? What is the ratio at Google? Facebook? Comcast?

It really got me thinking about where we are applying our talents. Are we applying our energies to controls, risk mitigation, resource management, process improvement, and looking at what can go wrong? Using big words like “ought to”, “management”, “discipline”, “appropriate” and “replicate”?

Or are we applying those energies to the possibilities? Imagination, creativity, insight, curiosity, innovation, original thought, free-thinking, and ideas? Phrases like “I wonder if….”, “what about this….”, or my favorite: “I have an idea….”

Obviously we need a balance to run an effective business. What I do know is this… great companies are always built on ideas. They discover new and compelling ways to solve problems for customers. They play to win rather than playing not-to-lose. History legends are those that broke free from conventional wisdom and used their imagination to create something special.

I’d like to encourage you to re-connect to your entrepreneurial and creative roots. Sharing concerns is great, but let’s not forget the ideas. Let’s not forget that to reach our big, audacious goals we must not only manage… we must lead.