Most full-time members of Radical Nation know full well that I’m convinced that Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter — which has a new sister title aimed directly at tapping into the genius inside our schools — is a must read for anyone charged with leading organizations.
One of my favorite sections of Multipliers involves a summary of the reasons behind Steven Spielberg’s mad-crazy success in the highly competitive movie industry. Speilberg, argues Liz Wiseman and Greg Mckeown, is a Liberator — a leader who intentionally creates workplace environments that allow talented individuals to do their best work.
Like many Liberators, Spielberg has an interesting attitude towards bad ideas. Check out this quote:
Download: Slide_StartasBadIdeas [PPT]
Talk about empowering, huh? By openly embracing the notion that bad ideas are important starting points — and by making that belief transparent to everyone on set — Spielberg frees his talent in two important ways.
Perhaps most importantly, people are far more willing to generate new ideas and to attempt to solve challenging issues when they work in an environment where failure isn’t seen as a character flaw. What’s more, by sending the message that good ideas start as bad ideas, Spielberg is also making it clear that EVERY idea can be polished and improved. His employees learn to push themselves — to question and to challenge and to search for SOMETHING better than ANYTHING they create right out of the gate.
Long story short: If you’re trying to get the best out of your faculties or your students make failure less threatening. Encourage risk taking and a spirit of never-ending intellectual revision by emphasizing the notion that bad ideas are important first steps towards something better.
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