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How to Turn Down Bad IT Ideas Gently

Build a giant robot to yell at people on the street to use your company’s products: maybe not the best idea. How does an IT leader turn down such ideas without hurting feelings or killing imagination? In an article for ZDNet, Mark Samuels relates some tips to help.

Killing Them Softly

In the first place, telling people their idea will not work is like a ripping-off-the-Band-Aid sort of scenario: It should be down fast. Letting the idea linger in the air will not result in anything productive; it is important to redirect energy toward more fruitful endeavors. So tell them that the idea will not work and why, but follow that up by reiterating how you are receptive to hearing more ideas. Tact is important here.

In an ideal scenario, you will not have to turn down someone’s idea outright because there might be something in it worth exploring. Samuels shares this:

“Listen to everyone’s viewpoint and understand their ideas. Then talk through their perspective, and your standpoint, and try and find a common ground. Rather than saying someone is wrong, it’s better to bring them on a journey,” [Brad Dowden, CIO at Airswift] says.

“You can rarely say from the outset whether someone is right or wrong. I never tell anyone they’re wrong straightaway — as a leader, you can’t be right all the time and no person can be expected to know everything. So, work things through and get to a point where everyone feels their perspective has been considered.”

Whether you love an idea or not, you need to send a message to your team that you both favor and expect them to always be coming to you with new ideas and proposals for experiments. Always put a premium on imagination.

You can view the original article here:

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid’s Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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