The best idea is your idea

The right idea at the right time can be a game changer; in life and in the music business as well. Whose idea it was is not nearly as important as getting that right idea at the right time, but that's easier said than done. Early in my career when I was young, I was hell-bent to make sure that every great idea was mine and that everybody in the world knew it. Over the years, I spent way too much time fighting and debating ideas that had some merit, only to find that oftentimes, people were fighting me, which seemed like, just for the heck of it.

Sometimes people fought the right idea to prove that they're right and I'm wrong. I realized that it was much easier for folks to identify problems in every idea or plan that I had, rather than identifying and offering solutions to those problems. The problem is this, everybody wants credit for the good ideas, and wants no part of any of those bad ideas. That debate wastes time and energy and keeps you from executing that great idea in a timely manner.

So, at some point along the way, I realized that if an idea was worth doing, it was worth spending some time getting people to support it. That's when I realized that the best way to make an idea happen was to make it your idea. When I took the time to do that, I found that folks became vested in the idea. They were much more prepared to do the things it took to make it happen, and in many cases, went well beyond the call of duty to make it happen. I recognized that everybody wants to feel like the smart person in the room, not just me.

Let me give you an example that will illustrate this concept, I hope. You're in a band, you've written a song, and you've got a specific arrangement in your mind. You're hearing it one way, but when you go in the studio, your drummer is not having any of it. You make a suggestion to the drummer, but he wants to fight you. He wants to own the drumming and he asks you to just sing the song, and let me do the drumming. So, of course, it turns into a fight. So, how do you fix it? Make your idea their idea.

Find a different messenger. Talk to your producer, another band member, and have them bring it up to the drummer, one on one, with nobody else around. Now, it sounds like a new idea minus the baggage between you and the drummer. He goes in there, he plays it great, now you and all your bandmates are back in business. Instead of saying, that's what I told you to do, dude, you say, great job, I'd have never thought to play it that way. You let him own it and bask in the glory of coming up with that great idea.

Look for great ideas first. When you find that great idea and you get some push back, take the time to sell it to the folks whose help you'll need to make it happen. Remember, a great idea at the right time can change everything. Whose idea it is is not nearly as important as making it happen. Don't be afraid to make the best idea your idea.