Monday, May 28, 2007

Standing up for the integrity of an idea

A colleague of mine was recently let go from her position after more than a decade dedication to the company she worked for. The reason? She stood up for the integrity of a global idea over a lesser, local idea (the specifics of the political wrangling I'm not privy too, nor the exact circumstances, but go with it). It begs a question - as a planner, how far would you go to protect the strategic integrity of an idea?

So, let me know. How far would you go?

Me? I've been giving that a lot of thought over the last few weeks. I have a young family, so (perhaps pathetically) I find myself airing on the side of compromise. Or rather, I'd like to think that I would be able to present a strategic argument strong enough that I'd talk my way through it. Or, through discussion, I could be persuaded of another direction. Would that be a compromise? Probably. Would it be standing up for the idea? Doubt it. I have, as yet, not been placed in this awkward situation. But it has been playing on my mind, so I'd love to hear some points of view, some similar situations. Thoughts on how far you should go? After all, what we do ain't rocket surgery. As an individual, where do you draw the line?


morgdotmac said...

been wrestling with this for the last few years, for sure. i don't pretend to have "the answer", but rather just a perspective. i keep concluding that "ideas" are so subjective, aren't they? and therefore, with my young family (and career) in tow its hard to stand pat on an idea. therefore, collaborative solutions (albeit, not as pure) tend to net the best results for company, client and me.
my 2 cents.

vikrant said...

Have faced such a situation in the past. After much thought, I came to the conclusion that "the idea", that I loved so much was not going to save kids in Africa. Rather, it was trying to convince those same kids to buy flavored beverages made from artificial chemicals. Was it really worth it to fight for the idea even if it was the right one for the brand? I didn't think so. I get the industry philosophy of sticking to the purity of an idea and that being of paramount importance, but I'll do it if the cause is big enough and matters to me personally. After all if I lose my job over does become personal. Doesn't it?

sean said...

I would absolutely stand up for the right idea. I sure hope that doing so won't summarily get me fired, I can't imagine it would except under a truly extreme situation (megalomaniac leadership?).

There is a lot of room between the extremes of the yes-man and the martyr. I think it's part of a planner's mission to help the team agree on how to evaluate ideas, then to be a passionate advocate for the strongest ones. If that gets me fired then so be it!