My idea is cooler than yours…
Really? Like showstopper, head-turner and shii, yea?
Hahahahahahaha…I know right?
There really wouldn’t be any problem with the universe if the above conversation began and ended just like that…all hearty laughter, no hurt feelings, no hurtful words. Unfortunately though, Idea Conflict is real…and serious.
Finally we have an issue on our hands that has absolutely nothing to do with the client… (Says who? Is it not while generating ideas for C that people who before then were jolly good friends automatically become enemies? Please.) Sometimes, we’re our own worst enemies.
Idea Conflicts occur when ideas, decisions or actions relating directly to the job or a brief are in opposition, or when two people just don’t get along. It is particularly dominant during brainstorms, widely used by Ad. Agencies to generate ideas and solve problems. However, many brainstorming activities are flawed and end up hurting creativity rather than helping spur ideas.
This is especially the case when people have conflicting ideas. Oftentimes, people fixate on the first dominant idea expressed in a brainstorm to the extent that additional ideas are viewed as gibberish. It gets even worse when the person with a different but brilliant idea is a junior person.
Here’s what I think…
People who drown other people’s ideas are all shades of insecure and suffer serious complex issues. Then there is the fear of relegation. So of the brilliant ideas thought up in a brainstorm session, none came from the almighty senior account manager with a pay that’s sinfully high? And you think that your idea will fly? Really? LOL.
But jokes apart, people need to drop their competitive egos.
A conflict of ideas can often be productive, if the parties involved are willing to ‘brainstorm’ solutions together. Studies have shown that critique and conflict can result in better and more imaginative ideas. Conflict of this kind often generates better work practices and initiates positive changes that would otherwise never have occurred.
Instead of critiquing an idea with the mindset of ‘killing’ it, look to clarify and expand upon it in order to generate additional concepts. That’s what great Admen do. You should improve on an idea and never crush it until you know for a fact it cannot be executed.
If you and some other colleague have opposing ideas, the least you can do is be calm and reasonable. Your aim shouldn’t be to win the argument, well unless that translates to a raise which I doubt it would. Have an open-mind and do not be unnecessarily judgmental. Be prepared to compromise.
But what do you think? What would you do if a senior colleague repeatedly insists that your visibly brilliant idea is not brilliant at all and will not see the light of day? Would you pay Mr. Herb A. List a courtesy visit at his shrine on his behalf? Down a bottle of…? Or something equally fantastic? 🙂