A lot of New Age books, blogs, and videos promote the power of putting your ideas out into the universe. Once they’re out there, they say, you can expect them to come true. Isn’t that exactly what a leader would want for their business ideas?
The problem is, most leaders are pretty practical people. Some might scoff at the mysticism of this idea. The thing is, the concept of putting your ideas out there actually works.
Doesn’t Success Just Take Hard Work?
Success does take hard work. You can never discount the value of hard work and perseverance, however, more than once, ideas that have started as nothing more than brainstormed ideas or distant dreams have become huge successes once the ideas have been put out into the universe. It takes both.
“When people are empowered and feel like they are working towards something bigger, amazing things can happen. Sharing your vision can spark a kind of momentum that carries you further than you ever imagined. Others outside your company will see this momentum and will drop anything to be part of it.” – COO Alliance
Where and How Do You Get Ideas Out There?
There are many ways to share ideas, but one that comes to mind was the office of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? So, what was it like and how did that help ideas get out?
The offices of 1-800-GOT JUNK? were called the Junktion. It was an amazing place to work, flowing with ideas, ambition, and really, really good coffee. It was a pioneering workplace that became a model for other young, hyper-growth companies to follow.
Okay… so where does sharing ideas come in?
Well, one aspect of this incredible space was the “Can You Imagine” Wall. It was a lot like a suggestion box where employees’ ideas were displayed with a little creative flair. The Wall became a big part of the work culture there. If you were standing around the water cold and someone said, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could do such and such in the future?” they’d be met with a chorus of voices saying, “Put it up on the Wall!”
What Happened to Those Ideas?
The Wall wasn’t as structured or concrete as the company’s long-term plan, but it was a fantastic way to keep everyone dreaming about where the company could go. It certainly helped that it was right there in the middle of the office to remind everyone of all they could achieve if they worked hard. It also helped to get guests excited, too.
But how does putting those business ideas out there on the Wall help them come true?
Well, I had a few ideas up on the wall, including one that came about after I wondered out loud why Harvard Business School didn’t do a case study on us. We were doing some revolutionary things building a world-class brand and I thought the business world should take notice.
Lo and behold, a guest in the office saw this posting on the Wall and told us that they knew someone at Harvard that approved cases. A few phone calls later, and 1-800-GOT-JUNK? was an official case study of the world-renowned Harvard Business School.
So, Does Putting Your Business Ideas Out There Actually Work?
Some might say that that was just a case of luck, or an affirmation of how small a world we live in. Before you give all the credit to luck, consider the case of Andrea Baxter, an employee at the Junktion whose ideas went from her lips (“Can you imagine our name on the side of Starbucks’ cups?”) to the Wall, to the side of ten million Starbucks cups.
If she’d listened to the people that snickered at her “impossible” idea, or if she hadn’t expressed her idea out loud and written it on the Wall, then it very well may have never happened.
Did she affect the cosmic energy of the universe and weave her ideas into reality? Probably not, but talking about these business ideas and writing them down introduced those ideas to a widening network of people. A network that then began to work to make these ideas come to life.
So, yes, you have to put your big ideas out into the universe. Then that’s when you start working hard to make them come true.
What ‘impossible’ ideas have you been staying silent about? Let us know in the comments below!
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2013 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.