Thursday, May 6, 2010

get rid of bad ideas

When I was in high I had the opportunity to lead a few school-wide events. I would always get a team together to help me plan the event so that we could come up with the best ideas possible. Occasionally our team would get stuck, and when you’re stuck, it can be very easy to move forward with a bad idea simply because you can’t come up with anything else.

Inevitably in these type situations someone will say the phrase, “don’t criticize the idea unless you have a better idea.” Basically they’re saying, “don’t say this is a bad idea unless you have a good idea”.

I used to even agree with that statement. I can remember thinking, “yea that makes sense. Don’t knock other people if you can’t come up with something on your own.”

It’s a very well meaning statement, but how could a team of people wanting to pursue excellence ever agree with that statement? A bad idea doesn’t become a good idea simply because there aren’t any other good ideas in the room. You can’t move forward with a bad idea just because the feelings of someone in the room are attached to the bad idea. Handle it gently, but don’t accept mediocrity simply because you haven’t come up with the good idea yet.

It’s ok to say, “I don’t know what the idea is yet, but I know THAT isn’t it.”

The longer you let bad ideas linger around the longer it will be until you find the good ones.


  1. Indeed... agreed... and all manner of absolutely.

  2. wow... great post! impressive thought

  3. Hi,

    Landed on your post after reading another great post from your dad's blog... (

    This is a very simple thought you have got here. But let me tell you, many teams fail to reach the excellency in their goals because they don't follow the simple thought you have posted here...

    It's amazing how big rewards rely on acting upon simple thoughts like this one... I have made this mistake several times. Thank you for the reminder and inspiration. The next time I am going to attend a team meeting, I am going to make sure that we are going to make best decisions and come up with the most brilliant ideas. Not crappy alternatives...