Earlier in the week, I met with some of the senior leadership in the company that I work for. You would probably know the company’s name, and be familiar with our products, but I’m going to leave all of that out here. That information is beside the larger point that I want to make.
The reason I met with them was to discuss the progress of an initiative that they are promoting within the company. And as the people gathered around the lunch table said their piece about the initiative and its implementation, I had a thought that I wanted to share with the group. However, I decided to write out what I was thinking, instead of vocalizing it on the spot. So after letting the matter sit inside my brain for a few days, here it is:
I work for a company in a creative industry. What we sell are the tangible results of the labors of many different people, but these products all began in the same place: as an idea inside someone’s head. It takes much time and effort to turn these ideas into something more than just flights of fancy. We sometimes have new ideas but, for one reason or another, most of them never become anything more than that.
Nurturing an idea is a difficult process. There’s the internal struggle of translating an idea into something more tangible, together with the external resistance that other people have to anything that’s new and unproven. People typically don’t want to step outside of their comfort levels in order to embrace new ideas. Our survival instinct tells us to go with what we know, and turn away from what we don’t.
And yet ideas still have a knack for getting out. Once they do, these ideas will either rise or fall, on the basis of own their merits and the willingness of others to accept them. This was the process that was being hashed out around a lunch table the other day. But like the sunrise that starts off a new day, that necessary first step had already been taken.
I’d love to give a prognosis for success down the road, but my crystal ball isn’t always accurate. I picked the Washington Nationals to win this year’s World Series, after all. I’m at least helping to make the idea work, together with many talented and dedicated people.
As Bruce Springsteen advises, small things can lead to bigger things someday. And there’s nothing physically smaller–or metaphorically greater–than a good idea.