How To Stop People From Stealing Your Ideas
Ideas are the most valuable currency today. They bring in dollars, euros, and even crypto.
But like any currency, they can get stolen. In fact, idea-stealing is a common phenomenon in the workplace.
Bosses and coworkers steal each others’ ideas. Companies steal pitch decks and features from their competition. And idea kleptomaniacs cannot resist stealing ideas, even the ones they don’t need.
Good ideas lay the foundation for all major and minor accomplishments. And you can accomplish a lot if you don’t care who gets the credit.
But if you don’t get enough due credit, you risk getting marginalized and being taken for granted. If you work in silence, you get rewarded with more work while lazy people descend like wolves, steal your ideas, and make a killing.
Fighting to showcase your ideas is not the solution either. People vying for individual attention never works in the best interests of a team. If you’re not a good team player, you’ll get isolated. And nobody goes far as a lone wolf. Even successful entrepreneurs need friends from whom they bounce ideas off and get new ones.
So how do you stop people from stealing your ideas? The answer lies in striking a balance. Between investing credit and choosing the right moments to present your thoughts.
Here are three tips to skillfully walk this tightrope.
1. Keep Communications Channels Open
For about twenty years, I watched helplessly as classmates and colleagues stole my ideas. At school and college, I shared ideas for drama themes and solutions for case studies with classmates, hoping to appear smart in front of them. They, in turn, presented the same ideas to the professors and appeared smart in front of them.
At work, I’d ask colleagues for their views on ideas I wanted to share with the manager. My colleagues often said nothing. Instead, they ran to the boss’ cabin as if they’d just experienced an Archimedes moment, and shared the ideas as their own. No prizes for guessing who got promoted.