Thursday was one of the worst days of work I’ve had in a long, long time. John and I had major problems arise on three different projects that we’re working on, and it seemed like the entire day was taking up with fights. It was absolutely exhausting, and by the time I got home, I was discouraged.
All three were related to different innovations that we’re working on. In two cases, we were fighting bureaucratic rules – the systems almost built to prevent new ideas from getting implemented. It was frustrating in the extreme.
In the afternoon, I went for a walk to clear my head and I ran across Mark. He said “running into problems like this is a sign that you’re actually doing something.” He’s right. And it’s a fight that all innovators end up having. If they’re in big organisations, they have to fight the rules, and the entrenched interests. If they’re on their own, they have to fight to get someone to listen to them.
It’s easy to be glib about breaking connections to get your ideas to spread, or about creative destruction. But the impacts of both are real. That’s why there’s always resistance to new ideas. This is another reason why having a great idea simply isn’t enough. If you’re going to innovate, you have to be ready to fight. You have to persuade. You have to change minds.
Thursday was a lousy day, but it’s good to be reminded of these things periodically. It makes it that much better when you have a breakthrough. Now that I’ve had a couple of days to rest and reflect (and to work on fixing things!), I’m ready for another fight. I better be – I’ve had a few more ideas, and now I have to figure out how to get them to spread!