Owning An Idea

Owning an Idea

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Owning An Idea

Every day, I work with clients and co-workers. I have to convince these account managers and co-workers that my ideas are in the best interest of their brand. Most days, my ideas are shot down with little explanation and I am left frustrated. I am frustrated because I own the idea and I have different experiences than the account managers, which causes me to see the world differently. I have read a report, article or concept that has helped me create an idea based on information consumed but the man across the table might not have that information. This creates a disconnect. The importance of presentations plays a major role in sharing the idea.

Sharing An Idea

There are two types of people; I want to talk about when it comes to sharing ideas: Dictators and Storytellers.


Dictators are difficult to deal with because they stifle ideas. Dictators don’t understand the importance of owning an idea. Dictators dictate ideas and control the creative process. They push their own ideas and they are usually in a position of power, which makes it difficult to oppose them. They are unwilling to listen to ideas and they are unwilling to explore others ideas because it challenges their position. They are insecure, which leads them to dismiss ideas they have not created. When they present their ideas it is from a position of power and the client cannot claim ownership because they are not involved. Bad clients love dictators because it gives them a scapegoat.

Dictators’ clients

Dictators’ clients never take ownership of the idea, so they never take ownership of failure. If the idea flops, the clients can move to the next agency and write it off as the agency is bad and the agency is incompetent. Dictators rarely include clients in the decision making process, instead they create strategies and present ideas to client in a take it or leave it manner. They often do not educate and nurture the client because that affects the bottom line. They often push ideas on clients and the clients that hire these agencies are happy because they are not interested in long-term relationship building. The clients are also looking for a quick transaction to boost the bottom line.

Dictators’ Employees

One of the biggest complaints you will hear from a dictator is his/her employees are not creative and lack initiative. They do not empower their employees and never listen to their employees, which leads to many creative ideas being withheld. Employees under a dictator are tired of fighting and losing, so they do one of two things. One they stop giving input and wait for the dictator to make a decision, which is why they appear to have no initiative. Or they quit, which leads to greater loss for the company.


“How do you translate a business strategy into an emotion?”

Storytellers are different they understand the importance of owning an idea. People still smoke even though they know it will kill them. People still drink, cheat, lie, and steal even though they know it is bad for their health and safety. Why because change only happens when they own the idea. They change when they choose to change; parents, friends, and adverts can tell them they are killing themselves but until they make the decision, nothing will change their minds. Story tellers understand this phenomenon, so they do not preach. Instead, they bring the client on a journey of discovery. They plan the outcome and walk the client through a process that only has one possible outcome. But by walking the client through the process, they transfer the idea and give ownership to the client. The client has come to the decision on their own. The storyteller has not forced the idea on the client but instead transferred the knowledge that allowed them to come to the desired decision.

Storytellers’ Clients

Storytellers’ clients are clients that are interested in learning the process. They are clients that ask the hard questions because they want to know why A or B was decided. They are more concerned with the long-term marketing strategy and are willing to learn about processes in order to understand the long-term implications. They want to use the best practices, even if it cost more, because they know long-term profitability is more important than padding the bottom line.

Storytellers’ Employees 

These employees are empowered to make decisions on their own and they have a voice within the creative process. They are passionate and engaged. They are willing to work towards the best outcome on projects. They are also willing to take on more responsibility because they are trusted and they know their ideas will be respected and used.

Ted Talk

Below is a great Ted Talk about leadership touching on the same idea of the importance of presenting ideas, as a leader. The video talks about owning an idea and transferring ideas.

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