When we talk about doing things the Idea Friendly way, you might think I’m asking you to do a lot of new things. I’m not. You’re doing plenty now, maybe more than enough. And you have the tools you need, right there in that phone in your hand. You just need to shift some key behaviors.
Every time someone proposes doing things with an Old Way behavior, you can suggest a new Idea Friendly behavior instead. It can be as simple as saying, “Imagine IF….” and then telling about the Idea Friendly way. (“IF” is the abbreviation for Idea Friendly, so now every time you say “if” you’re reminding yourself of your new way to do things.)
Old way: Formal
Committees, action teams, task forces, officers, meetings, agendas, minutes, reports
Idea Friendly way: Informal
Get-togethers, self-organized crowds, action, doing things
Old way: Few
Officials, appointments, selections, the usual people, the old guard
Idea Friendly way: Crowd
Lots of people, everyone, anyone who wants to, deliberately reaching different groups
Old way: Control
Issuing orders, commands, announcements, requiring permission, regulations, permits, follow-ups, accountability, penalties
Idea Friendly way: Chaos
Trying, acting, talking, duplicating, starting, stopping, retrying, repeating, learning, doing without permission, pay the fine and do it anyway
Old way: Isolated
Closed meetings, back rooms, inconvenient times and places, gatekeepers, qualifications, prerequisites, requirements
Idea Friendly way: Connected
Out and present in the community, participating, listening, involving, accepting
Old way: Decide
Vote, pick winners, eliminate choices, streamline, be efficient, one “best” way
Idea Friendly way: Test
Experiment, test, try, fail, succeed, partly fail, learn, revise, give up on some things, get better through experience
Old way: BIG
Large projects, big costs, hard to do, long term, difficult to stop, the bigger they are the harder they fall
Idea Friendly way: small
Tiny businesses, small steps, little failures, small successes, easy to do, short term, easy to quit if not working
Old way: Failure is bad
Hide failures, don’t talk about them, be embarrassed, remind people of their failures to shame them
Idea Friendly way: Failure is good
Learn from small failures, celebrate good tries, look for lessons, let things go quickly that aren’t working
Start by moving just a few things from the Old Way to the Idea Friendly Way. Instead of voting, run some tests. Try not keeping minutes, and let things happen. Swap out a boring meeting for a fun action session. Don’t hold a meeting to talk about wanting to be a cleaner town when you could go sweep some sidewalks and tag it #CleanYourOwnSidewalkDay on Instagram.
Practice saying, “Imagine IF that didn’t matter, and we could do ________ instead.” You’ll be reminding yourself of Idea Friendly and easing other people into a new way of behaving.
It will take a long time to revolutionize your town, but you’ll start seeing and feeling results immediately.