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New Ideas Come at a Price: Your Old Ideas Have to Die


I’ve thought a lot about ideas. Especially over the last couple of months, I’ve been bombarded by them.

Talk is cheap, though. It is easy to talk about new ideas and new ways of doing things. It is another thing to get through the 523 excuses, roadblocks and challenges that stand in the way of them.

When I look at new, exciting technologies (or processes or ways of thinking), I think about adoption curves and the entrances into new organizations. But it is more than that.

I think a lot about human nature when I think about new idea adoption. In order to take on a new idea, you either have to kill the old one or you had no idea to begin with.

Hey, sometimes it’s both.

I think about it in the context of the marriage equality movement. No matter what happens with the Supreme Court decisions, there is a long road ahead for people’s viewpoints and ideas about marriage to change. The landmark civil rights act in the United States is almost 50 years old and there are still a lot of people who would gladly return to before that came to fruition.

It is frightening to give up something you’ve believed in for a long time. While you can talk a good game about being open-minded, when the rubber meets the road, I’ll bet you flinch. Killing familiar ideas is tough and it takes patience, whether it is the idea that paper-based payroll was somehow superior or personal feelings on important legal, cultural and political issues.

There’s also a point where you don’t necessarily want yield to new ideas either. It is hard to understand whether the reason you’re hesitant is because it is the right thing to do or because yielding to new ideas is uncomfortable in its own right.

One thing is clear though: if you were more comfortable with murdering your own dumb ideas or at least did it on a more frequent basis, you’d be able to tell the difference a lot easier.

By Lance Haun

Strategy for The Starr Conspiracy. Former HR pro. Portland guy (Go Blazers!) and WSU alum (Go Cougs!). I get to write about what I want here.

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