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K - Pg. 113

113 K Killing ideas Some managers are brilliant at killing ideas. These same people will complain about the lack of innovation and new thinking in the business. It is human nature to react with hostility to new ideas. New ideas represent a threat to the status quo: They involve risk, they may not work. They are a challenge to the way we have done things before, implying criticism of us. Even if the idea succeeds, it will take extra work and puts extra performance expectations on us. We did not come up with the idea, so we are not in control. Naturally, the hostility is not normally overt. It normally comes in the form of helpful questions. We have all been in meetings where an idea surfaces. First one person shoots a heat-seeking missile, normally characterized by a `Yes, but...' or `I think it's a good idea but...' Remember, everything before the `but' is baloney. The real message comes afterwards: `It's great, but has it ever been done before?' If yes, then it's old hat and not worth doing; if no, then it is too risky to do. Fight your way out of that one. `I like that, but of course funding it would require cancelling this year's advertising.' `Yes, but would the unions /regulators/trade accept it?' Once one person comes up with a killer missile, everyone else in the meeting joins in. The more deadly the missile, the more it shows the commentator is smart. It is easy pickings for everyone, except the person who suggested the idea. By the end of the meeting, the meeting has achieved three things: