I have a friend who writes screenplays in his spare time. He swears he’s always just on the cusp of writing Hollywood’s next big blockbuster. But he also admits it’s a long, hard, uphill journey to get there. The problem is he always takes that journey alone.
This friend shares a common fear that many people have; by sharing ideas, others will act on them first and take all the credit.
With all due respect to my friend and all the other non-sharers out there, I say this is absolutely hogwash.
Sharing your ideas is one of the very best ways to ensure they come to fruition. I’m a huge fan of it. I even put a copy of my Painted Picture up on my website. I encourage everyone to go read it.
Am I afraid my competitors will mine that document for fresh solutions or steal my million dollar ideas? Not one bit. In fact, I am far more excited about my friends, colleagues and associates reading it and becoming my allies. The more people that hear my ideas, or see my vision, the more help I have in making it all come true.
It’s important to remember that this vision isn’t an inflexible blueprint for my future. It’s more concerned with where I am going, not how I am going to get there. In fact, sharing it actually helps me start to put the pieces of ‘how to get there’ together.
When you lay out your vision for your company, you might feel that sharing it with only your senior leaders is appropriate. Why confuse the receptionist with such high level strategy, right?
How do you know she isn’t friends with the executive assistant to the biggest venture capitalist in town? Perhaps your IT guy knows the perfect program to simplify your inventory control.
Sharing your vision also helps your employees understand their role in the grand scheme. It will prompt them to make decisions that align with this blueprint and make the ‘fight’ to bring your vision to life more like a pillow fight in a room filled with Jello.
When people are empowered and feel like they are working toward something bigger, amazing things can happen. Sharing your vision can spark a kind of momentum that carries you further than you ever imagined. Others outside your company will see this momentum and will drop anything to be part of it.
Suddenly your suppliers are offering more lax terms, your banker feels motivated to loosen his purse strings. Before you know it, you are leading a veritable army of diverse, driven individuals all working to achieve a common dream. Hey, that sounds like the beginning of my friend’s next blockbuster script!