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Does your idea lead to a dead end or a superhighway?

3 min read


This post is by Mike Henry Sr., founding instigator of the Lead Change Group, where they’re instigating a leadership revolution. He’s @mikehenrysr on Twitter and is also active on LinkedIn.

Leadership is changing. It used to be that your job title was enough, and in many organizations today, title still rules. But these very organizations bemoan problems such as disengaged employees and high turnover. People in these environments simply go through the motions and live for the weekend.

Leadership is about ideas. For a leader to make an impact, their ideas must move people along to their destination.

Ideas are paths. People see life as a journey. How we spend our time either moves us along to where we want to go or it distracts us from our ultimate objective. As a leader, your idea is part of our journey. Leader, will your idea take us where we want to go?

Leaders are guides. Your project, business operation or idea is simply a path; a way for others to get to their destination. Do you want to expand your leadership impact? Show people how your idea gets them to their destination, quickly and safely. Mark the path well and plan around obstacles. We will travel your path if it helps us get to our destination.

There are five types of paths. Let’s continue the path analogy to look at your idea. Will people take it? Is your idea worth the gas?

  1. Cul-de-sac ideas: Does your idea go anywhere? Ideas that only benefit you or a small group of people are like culs-de-sac, which literally means “bottom of the bag.” Your idea may be very special to you, but if no one else can get where they’re going with your idea, it’s a dead end. We won’t even turn down that road because we know there’s no outlet.
  2. City street ideas: Your idea is a destination for a few, and they’ve bought property and built houses. Because the kids are playing and the dogs are loose, the speed limit is low and there are a number of 4-way stop signs or stop lights along the way. Only a few people can get to their destination on this street, so only a few take it.
  3. Thoroughfare ideas: These ideas are broad, and the destinations are many. Many of us are “going the same direction” but not to the same destination. Watch for people who “drive alongside you” but change lanes at the last minute, sometimes without a turn signal. We can get where we want to go on this road, but it’s going to take a lot of time and focus.
  4. State highway ideas: These are great ideas; many of them have been around a long time. These ideas were built in a simpler time. They can’t handle today’s traffic. There are no passing lanes, speed zones and speed traps to keep us from moving quickly.
  5. Superhighway ideas: These ideas serve many. People agree to certain limitations to share this road. These ideas make or break a destination or a city. If your destination lies along a superhighway, people will travel farther to save time. Huge communities are served by superhighway ideas.

Remember, ideas are paths and leaders are guides. We each choose our own path. But great ideas get many closer to their own destination. Expand your leadership impact. Have a great path, mark the path well and make sure your idea leads to an attractive destination.

Image credit: mattjeacock via