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E2W coaching partner, Kat Hutchings: How to deal with ‘idea thieves.’

E2W coaching partner, Kat Hutchings: How to deal with ‘idea thieves.’

Katie.Dix / 10 Dec 2019

E2W coaching partner, Kat Hutchings: How to deal with ‘idea thieves.’

I was speaking at an E2W event in London in November and one question I was asked was 'What do you do when you share an idea in a meeting and no one picks up on it. And then a few minutes later a colleague shares the SAME idea and everyone responds, ‘yes great!'

I asked the room who else had experienced this and everyone raised their hand (including me).

So, the purpose of this blog is to share strategies for managing idea thieves in meetings.

As usual, take the ideas that resonate and discard the ones that don't based on your specific scenario and how well you know the individuals in the meeting. Some ideas are bolder than others and you know what best fits your context.

You could:

  • Call it out in the moment. Try something like ‘thanks for sharing that [insert colleagues name], that’s very similar to the point I made a few moments ago when I said [your idea]. How shall we take this forward?
  • Give them the feedback after the meeting - a lot of people don’t notice they’re repeating your idea. Break it to them gently with something like ‘May I share some feedback? When you said [your idea], had you noticed that I'd already shared this idea moments earlier when I said XYZ’. Cue mortified colleague.
  • Get an ally in the room. If it’s happening often at the same weekly or monthly meeting, approach someone in that meeting you trust in advance. Share a historic example so they understand what you mean and ask that they be ‘radar on’ for the behaviour in the next meeting. This means they can call it out in the meeting or invite your opinion. It also gives you validation as sometimes we can sit there wondering if we imagined it!
  • Advocate for others. If you notice it happen to someone else, be the person who politely points it out. Role model the behaviour you want to see.

With any of these approaches, your tone of voice is crucial. You’re aiming for clear, curious and open.

This isn’t about being egotistical or aggressively claiming ownership of your latest excellent idea. It’s about feeling heard and being a respected contributor – you deserve that.

Because we want to hear your opinions and ideas. You are bringing a unique perspective based on your skills, passions and experiences and you deserve to be heard.

Is there anyone else who needs to hear these ideas? This is a useful blog to hit forward on if you're mentoring someone with this challenge - trust me, it's a common one.

About Kat:

Kat Hutchings is a Leadership & Career Coach working with individuals like you to excel in your leadership role and achieve perfect-fit next career moves. Her background in Financial Services leadership roles, means she can identify with the challenges and opportunities you face. To enquire about Kat’s coaching programmes, please contact Katie Dix.


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