Protecting Yourself against Idea-Stealers

Protecting Yourself against Idea-Stealers You assumed, incorrectly in this case, that Emmett was a good colleague who would help you hone and develop your idea. Frankly, I think that’s a good assumption to make generally (more of this later). Just not in this particular case. What can you do? You have already twigged to one strategy—don’t discuss ideas with people like that. But Emmett may ask for your suggestions for an idea he ostensibly has come up with. Do not give him any as he likely has an empty bucket he’s hoping you’ll fill. Instead, say something like, “Gosh, Emmett, I’m blanking. But if I think of anything, I’ll let you know.” And put it out of your mind and continue with your life. Don’t even do it if he offers to share the credit with you. He won’t and you’ll be back in the same old position. If you come up with an idea, and for some reason, must discuss it with Emmett (e.g. because he has some special expertise), do it in the presence of someone else. You might float it during a coffee-break or other casual moment to camouflage the whole witness thing. If you’re really on…

Doing Nothing when Someone Steals Your Idea
Employee Stream , Lying for Employees / February 27, 2017

Doing Nothing when Someone Steals Your Idea Emmett, a co-worker stole your idea. He denies it and your mutual boss, Len, doesn’t believe you when you complain. What’s left? Does that mean you should let Emmett get away scott-free? No way. Yes, possibly. The advantages of doing nothing I know, the idea sticks in your craw. But consider the following: It’s your word against Emmett’s. Emmett has more credibility with Len than you do, however undeserved. You risk looking like a whiner to Len. Anything you do is unlikely to make a difference. I can hear the grinding of teeth. This is so unfair. And it is. It seems as if people like Emmett can get profile dishonestly and there seems to be no way to stop him. Actually, in the long run, the Emmetts of the world often get their come-uppance. For one thing, as has already happened in your work group, everyone except you is wise to Emmett and it’s unlikely they’ll float ideas in front of him. So, he has to rely on newbies like you. But you also are once burned, twice shy. Eventually, Emmett is cut off from new ideas to steal. And in the…

Complaining to your Boss when a Co-Worker Steals Your Idea
Employee Stream , Lying for Employees / February 20, 2017

Complaining to your Boss when a Co-Worker Steals Your Idea In the previous post, you confront the co-worker (Emmett) who passed your idea off as his. As a result, the boss Len thinks Emmett is the cat’s pyjamas and has assigned him to develop the idea. Your idea. You tried confronting Emmett but got nowhere. So the next option could be to complain to Len. I mean, surely the boss cares about this type of thing. So, the next day, you poke your head into Len’s office. You: Hi, got a minute? Len: Sure, what’s up? You: Well, you know that idea you wanted Emmett to develop? Len: Yeah, it’s great. Emmett’s got a knack for coming up with new takes. You: Ah, well, that idea was mine. Len: Yours? What do you mean? You: I told Emmett about it and he stole it to present to you. Len: That’s a serious charge. You: Yeah, but apparently he does this all the time. The others— Len: (holds up a hand) I don’t want to hear gossip. Have you talked to Emmett about this? You: Yes, but he denies it. Len: So, are you sure you didn’t misinterpret what happened? You:…

Confronting a Co-Worker who Stole Your Idea
Employee Stream , Lying for Employees / February 13, 2017

Confronting a Co-Worker who Stole Your Idea Well, there always seems to be one around, right? Someone who seems to get ahead by copping others’ ideas. In the last post, YOU floated a new product idea with Emmett, your co-worker. He pooh-poohed it which discouraged you from presenting it to your mutual boss, Len. At the next staff meeting, Len praises Emmett for the same idea and assigns Emmett to work on developing it. You make it to your cubicle before you explode to your office neighbor, Brenda. You: The gall of the guy! That was my idea! Brenda: (smiling) Emmett? You: How did you know? Brenda: Welcome to the club. You: Huh? Brenda: The Burned-by-Emmett Club. We’re all members. You: What did you do? Brenda: (shrugs) What can you do? But in your cubicle, you can’t settle down. The gall of the guy! I can’t believe it! And even: what a group of cowards—no wonder Emmett gets away with it. The more you think about it, the madder you get. No way. No way! You jump up and head to Emmett’s cubicle. You: I’ve got a bone to pick with you! Emmett: Oh, yeah? You: That was my idea….

A Co-worker Steals Your Idea
Employee Stream , Lying for Employees / February 6, 2017

A Co-worker Steals Your Idea It happens. Doesn’t matter the industry sector, company, or complexity of work. But what do you do? Let’s follow this scenario. Emmett, despite his name, seems like an okay guy. He showed you the ropes when you started three months ago. The other guys seem good too, but more often than not, Emmett picks you up for lunch. You think you’re getting the hang of the job and even have an idea you want to pitch to your boss (Len). But you want to bounce it off Emmett first to see if it’s likely to fly. You: Hey, can I pick your brain? Emmett: Sure, what’s up? You: I want to pitch a new product to Len but I wanted to run it by you first. [You explain your Great Idea] Emmett: Yeah, interesting. But I don’t know if Len will go for it. You: Why not? Emmett: (shrugs) It’s not really our market. You: But that’s just the point—it will expand the appeal of the product. Emmett: Yeah, but it would have to be a whole different marketing approach. You: But wouldn’t it be worth it? Emmett: (shakes his head) I dunno—Len’s been complaining…