professional development

Power Play: Get behind other people’s ideas

Rose Herceg /

Power Players get behind other people’s ideas. If you hear a good idea from someone, use your power to help make it real.

There are few things that will build your influence more than lending weight to an idea whose time has come and doing whatever is required to bring it to life.

It’s a noble use of power when you help other people realise their dreams. It’s cool and it’s classy and it’s the stuff of folklore when you put your own idea to one side to get behind a much better one.

Be magnanimous. Be grand. Be just. If you gain a reputation for getting behind other people’s ideas, you will also be the most popular person in the room.

The story

I sat in a big honcho meeting with the head of a magazine publishing company. It was the early days of the internet and the CEO has bemoaning the problem of protecting their copyright.

The 19-year-old trainee in his first month at the company spoke up. He said that in this age of digital content, the magazine company should promote the sending and sharing of content instead of trying to stop it, given that it would happen anyway.

The kid’s boss, a mean man in a bad suit and cheap shoes, scowled at him for speaking up. But the CEO paused to look the kid in the eye and said, “That’s a bloody great idea, Tim.” The CEO then made sure that every editor, writer and publisher of each of his magazines used every conceivable opportunity to promote the sharing of their content.

Turns out this tactic breathed new life into their publications and increased their newsstand sales considerably.

The CEO let everyone know that the idea belonged to the kid. And the man with the cheap shoes? I heard he was fired for stealing office supplies worth $6000. The kid? Today he’s the general manager of a pay TV channel.

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