Jon Bell over at medium.com has presented an interesting solution to an often vexing problem. The problem is “getting started.” Trying to get your team, or just yourself, out of the gate and moving forward. Whether you are in search of a new idea, trying to develop a plan, or just deciding where to go to lunch, getting out the door can be a challenge. To address this mental roadblock, Jon uses what he calls “McDonald’s Theory.”
I use a trick with co-workers when we’re trying to decide where to eat for lunch and no one has any ideas. I recommend McDonald’s.
An interesting thing happens. Everyone unanimously agrees that we can’t possibly go to McDonald’s, and better lunch suggestions emerge. Magic!
It’s as if we’ve broken the ice with the worst possible idea, and now that the discussion has started, people suddenly get very creative. I call it the McDonald’s Theory: people are inspired to come up with good ideas to ward off bad ones.
I have a warm spot in my stomach for McDonald’s so that might not work for me, and this would never work on a group of high school kids, but in the business world this idea has merit; doing anything to start the process is always better than doing nothing. And if you have the sense, or even just the courage, to risk coming up with the worst possible idea, just so you can stimulate better ones, then that’s called leadership.
More from Jon..
The next time you have an idea rolling around in your head, find the courage to quiet your inner critic just long enough to get a piece of paper and a pen, then just start sketching it. “But I don’t have a long time for this!” you might think. Or, “The idea is probably stupid,” or, “Maybe I’ll go online and click around for—”
No. Shut up. Stop sabotaging yourself.
The same goes for groups of people at work. The next time a project is being discussed in its early stages, grab a marker, go to the board, and throw something up there. The idea will probably be stupid, but that’s good! McDonald’s Theory teaches us that it will trigger the group into action.
You have to be out in front to lead. So get out there. Lead. Right after you have some lunch.