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Focus on the idea, not the person who presents it

If someone whom you respect suggests an idea, it’s easy to accept the idea on first blush. It may be a good idea, but really….maybe not.

If a suggestion comes from someone you don’t like (or worse, don’t respect, don’t trust), it’s easy to quickly dismiss the idea.

Erase the face and voice of the spokesperson to think about the idea
An editorial at the close of local elections in North Carolina focuses on this idea. The writer is talking about politics, but I can construe it to think about the workplace.

‘For the Record: The lost art of civility’ from the Carrboro Citizen in Carrboro, North Carolina (very close to Chapel Hill).
Excerpts I particularly like:
“It would be a lie to say that civility is the answer to all the ills of modern politics — local, state, national and global.”

“what happens when adults go feral”

“I’ve seen good ideas delayed or shot down not on their merits but as a result of who was carrying the water. That’s the kind of attitude that exists all too often in the workplace….”

http://www.carrborocitizen.com/main/2007/11/07/for-the-record-the-lost-art-of-civility/

Comments

This is such a good point. From my own experience I can tell that quite often when in a meeting with someone I don't trust or have little respect for, I find myself not even hearing the ideas that that person brings up. It happens subconsciously. Having noticed this, I try to modify my behavior to be able to see the ideas without a face attached.

However, I think that our minds are set up the way they are for a reason and that our subconscious instincts in most cases show the right way. So, even though it is good to be able to erase a face and evaluate an idea on its own. It is wise to also consider the source. Because if a seemingly good idea comes from a person you know enough that you don't trust them, something is just not right in that picture. Either, your judgment is wrong or they may have a hidden agenda.

Good ideas result in good things only if carried out with good intentions and by good people.