It’s easy when considering ideas to consider personalities, likes and dislikes, ego, and hierarchy. The healthiest teams and the most successful people put these things aside and value their ideas based on their merit.
Becoming merit focused takes a great practice of integrity. I say ‘practice’ because integrity takes practice. Don’t think of it as a binary quality. Each time we are presented with a course of action there are many different factors (as stated above) that will easily cloud our judgment and influence our direction. It takes intention to act this way. If you are going to be a champion of the best ideas you have to:
1. Make an explicit philosophical decision for yourself and in your team that the best idea will always win.
2. When an idea is presented, ask yourself “Is this the best idea?” or “is this a better idea than our current course?” and then critically answer the question.
3. Separate ideas from personalities. Put all potential ideas on a list and consider them fairly. Pretend that you came up with all the ideas as a tricky way to fool your ego out of the picture.
4. Actively get comfortable with change. Sometimes the best idea is to stay the course but often true innovation requires departures from the main stream.
Remember, ideas are cheap. It’s your ability to implement them that sets you apart from others.