Subscribe to the DTBG Weekly BlogSubscribe Now

Feed good ideas and let bad ideas die of starvation.

As humans we are hard wired for negativity. This kept us alive during our evolution, but in today’s world it creates some issues. We tend to look for what is wrong, rather than look for what is right. We tend to want to “fight against”, rather than “fight for”. As a leader part of your job is to shine the light on and fight for what is right and shine the light on the great work your people are doing and on the great ideas being generated by your team.

“Your time is better spent championing good ideas than tearing down bad ones. The best thing that can happen to a bad idea is that it is forgotten. The best thing that can happen to a good idea is that it is shared. Feed the good ideas and let bad ideas die of starvation.”

James Clear

Spending time tearing down “bad ideas” will likely create an environment where people are reluctant to come forward with any ideas at all. All ideas put forward are useful in that they create open dialogue and discussion and may generate further ideas. Some ideas, however, are worth pursuing and feeding and some are better left to “die of starvation”.

Before you let any idea die of starvation make sure you examine the merits of the idea and not simply judge it through the lens of your own thought process and bias. Just because it is not what you would have come up with, or what you would have done does not make it a “bad” idea.

You need to also be cautious of believing that those who speak the most and speak the loudest always have the best ideas. At times they will. Other times it is the quiet, reflective introverts who have the best ideas. Make sure you create an environment where everyone gets the opportunity to reflect on the problem, then generate and share their ideas on how to address the problem. Once everyone had shared their insights and ideas find ways to have the team anonymously rate those ideas so they get rated based on their merit, not on the popularity, or dominance of the person suggesting the idea.

Among your many tasks as a leader is to generate a culture that values new ideas, and then to share and feed good ideas generated by members of your team.

Remember that leadership is a choice and a journey, and it starts with you. Choose well, keep learning and enjoy the journey.

Brian Willis

Register yourself, and your team for the Dare to Be Great: Strategies for Creating a Culture of Leading online workshop to get everyone on the same page regarding leadership and culture. If you are interested in hosting a live Dare to Be Great workshop reach out to me at