It is common knowledge that our view of the messenger has a bearing on
the importance we will give to the message he or she is bringing. This
acts as a shortcut to filter the amazing amount of noise that is out
there. I am not suggesting that you make a blanket change to this
approach. That would be scary. Here is my proposal:
Only when someone comes to you with an idea, try to detach the idea
from the source – meaning just for that instant, detach the messenger
and the message. That way, your past experiences and assessments about
the source won’t contaminate your evaluation of the idea.
Now, why is this important? Ideas can come from anywhere – from your
kids to from someone that is totally not related to your field of work.
If our filters are strong, most of the time, we will ignore the ideas
from people that we think have no authority to generate “valid” or
“good” ideas in your field of work. You will generally look for
“credibility” and “experience” of the source before giving their “idea”
due consideration. The chances are that you will miss some “gems” in
the process. Not everyone who will come up with a brilliant idea has
the necessary background, experience and/or credibility to back it up.
Summary: Be open to ideas. From anywhere!
Note 1: It is obvious that you need phenomenal patience, caring and
superior listening skills to be able to detach an idea from its source.
You can start working on those skills to start with.
Note 2: Of course, it is clear that you will use your judgment on how
far you can take this. There are some people out there who have a lot
of ideas but not one will be worth your time. You can give them a
chance or two and then put your filters “back on” for that source.