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

In meetings, what do you suppose the ratio is at your company between these two phrases? What do you think the ratio was five years ago? What is the ratio at Google? Facebook? GROUPON? 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”, “allocation”, “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….”, “you know what would be cool….” or my favorite: “I have an idea….”

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

Now is the time for you to reconnect to your creative roots. When you were a kid, you spent much more time coming up with new ideas than worrying about all the things that could go wrong. This same disregard for the rules and focus on creativity has now become your most important competitive weapon. To win in the new era of business, you need to tap into your true creative potential or run the risk of getting left in the dust.

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. We must dream. We must imagine. We must create.