Last week I heard three different people say “great idea but they would never allow it”, “they would not accept it”, “they simply would never agree”. In fact, because I hear the ‘they’ phrase used so often these days, I am beginning to wonder who ‘they’ are and why they are so damned negative?

The truth of the matter is on one level, the phrase can mean ‘please don’t bother me with a solution; I am just in a self indulgent mood and want to bring you down to my level’. And yet on another level, more often than not, people simply use it as a very weak excuse for inaction. They do not want to hear your solution or advice because they have no intention of trying to bring about the change it implies.

When you think about it, abandoning a creative idea by blaming figurative groups of people for something you have not even bothered to consult them on, is quite is simply ridiculous.

From now on, whenever you hear the ‘they’ phrase, challenge it. Ask “Who are they? What are their functions in the company and why do you think ‘they’ would block you?” Remind the person that uses it, that if their idea is sound; if it has been well thought through and has received a degree of verification, then it is simply is their duty to at least try to get support for it.

It seems that once we have left full time education, the pressures and responsibilities of daily life entrench us with an inner fear of failure. The enterprising spirit that won us our job in the first place seems to diminish with each passing year. And yet we know that nothing worth achieving was ever achieved by anyone without strong opposition. Opposition is, after all, what we humans are frighteningly good at. We enjoy putting each other down, we even put ourselves down, making ourselves feel small and insignificant, until eventually we decide that it is easier to give up before we even begin. After all who wants to make a fool of themselves by being turned down, especially in public?

Having an idea rejected in business, is not as emotionally draining as being rejected by a teenage sweetheart, and yet many of us act as if it is and do everything to avoid it.

Have a good week,