Ideas as Motivation

June 30, 2009 Will Read

It’s hard for me to be excited about participating when I feel like I can’t contribute ideas. Sometimes it is a very formal situation created by organizational structure, for instance I don’t see those enlisted in the army having much of a voice in how their platoon operates, let alone a base or the army as a whole.

It’s hard for me to be excited about participating when I feel like I can’t contribute ideas. Sometimes it is a very formal situation created by organizational structure, for instance I don’t see those enlisted in the army having much of a voice in how their platoon operates, let alone a base or the army as a whole.

I suspect any “knowledge worker” has the same struggle that I have. Even if one has crazy hair-brained ideas, they should be heard. If they are dismissed, reasons should be given for “why” so that the idea maker can form better ideas in the future. Topics should not be off limits for discussion- if someone is tired of re-hashing a conversation, perhaps he could reflect on why the same conversation keeps happening – and address the cause, rather than the symptom.

Today I was asked about times and pairs where I wasn’t stopping my pair to catch up, to get re-engaged. What I initially took for a skill gap, might actually be my reaction to an environment where I don’t feel like my voice is heard as much as I’d like it to. While it would be nice to feel safe and warm at all times in one’s life, I have to concede that I fail to stand up and make myself heard. It is uncomfortable for me to discuss an idea that someone has already shown to be disagreeable toward.

To me, an idea is a really special concept. Someone packages up his understanding of a problem, applies all of his history, and attempts to create a solution. At worst, he hopes his idea gets feedback, more information, more understanding, so he can better fabricate ideas. In a group, his idea may spark an idea in another group member who comes up with a great solution. But when ideas go unheard, it says to the thinking employee is a near-silent whisper, “Your experience, your life, is not worthwhile.”

That whisper is my Achilles Heel. I am looking for resources that will help me combat those situations. Methods that make me a more valuable team member – because I stay engaged – because I feel that the team is getting the full benefit of having me, and my experiences at its disposal.

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