Are You REALLY Open to New Ideas?

Are we REALLY open to new ideas? We like to think we are, but how often to we reactively defend the status quo – especially when someone pokes a hole in our past decisions? I work with clients for a living, which means I spend a lot of time looking at organizations and challenging them with new ideas. I try to do the same thing when it comes to this blog. But far too often, instead of at least considering new ideas, some people at the organization reflexively dismisses them without any thought at all.

I’ve heard every excuse you can imagine:
It’s too expensive.
We’ve already tried that.
Our audience/donors/customers won’t like it.
It’s too much trouble.
That may work with other organizations, but not ours.

But in the vast majority of cases, each excuse is simply code for one of the following:
If he’s right, then I might lose my job.
If that’s correct, then I’ll have to re-think everything we do.
That will take much more work than I’m interested in doing.
If I accept this new idea, it will reflect badly on me.

It’s happened so much that it’s made me very sensitive when my own ideas are being challenged. Do we have too much invested in justifying our actions, rather than being open to something new? Are you so insecure that you have trouble entertaining the idea that you might just be wrong?

In more than one case, I’m convinced that certain employees (even in Christian churches and nonprofits) would rather the organization fail than admit they were wrong.

How about you? Are you REALLY open to new thinking? Even if it forces you to admit you were wrong?

That’s a key test of real creative leadership.

Have you ever been guilty of this, or experienced other employees who have?

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  1. So glad you posted this. It’s actually my challenge to myself this semester: listen to my peers’ ideas and take time exploring them before making any quick judgments. I’m expecting some great collaborations to result. 🙂

  2. I’ve definitely been guilty of this in the past, but I’m trying to be more aware of it. Two areas where I see it the most in others – schools and, sadly, churches. What amazes me most about churches is they’ll inexplicably cling to 1600 year old traditions, and get angry or defensive when it gets pointed out to them that perhaps some of those traditions don’t comport with the 2000 year old text that they are supposedly based on.

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