My Colleague is Taking Credit for My Work
Power / July 17, 2017

My Colleague is Taking Credit for My Work You have put a lot of sweat equity into a new, and even innovative, product for a very large children’s toy manufacturer. It fills a niche for pre-kindergarten in your company’s line. The game doesn’t require as much manual dexterity as those for older children but is more challenging mentally then the regular pre-kindergarten stuff. You can see that it would give bragging rights to parents and this could be a great selling feature. You’ve felt that there has been real team work with Wesley, who is a more senior designer in the unit. He is not your supervisor but he’s been a big help, throwing around ideas. You two are ready to present the prototype to your management. The presentation meeting Manager: So Wesley and Nick want to give us an update on the smart pre-kindergarten game. Who’s gonna start?     You and Wesley look at each other. Before You can say anything: Wesley: Why don’t I? I’m really happy with the progress on what I’m thinking of calling the Baby Einstein game. This is news to you! Manager: Hey, I like that. Taps into the whole bragging rights for…

Getting Your Ideas Heard
Lying / March 13, 2017

Getting Your Ideas Heard We’ve been discussing dealing with the theft of your idea by a co-worker. The discouraging truth seems to be that it’s very hard to win this battle. So, instead you need to win the war. A much more positive way to approach this is to become the go-to idea guy. That is, the person the boss expects to come up with original ideas. First, of course, you have to have the innovative ideas to pitch. That I can’t help you with. If you do not typically come up with new takes, then I’d make my mark in some other way. Otherwise, you’ll end up like Emmett. But having the idea is not enough. You’ve got to get the powers-that-be excited about it. Getting a new idea adopted Again, if you generally work with a good group, you can create that excitement by having lots of colleagues sharing your enthusiasm. And this is by far the preferable way to interest your boss. However, if you are in a group with one or more confirmed idea-stealers, you might want to answer the following questions as a way to pitch your idea to your boss. Is there anything else…

Protecting Yourself against Idea-Stealers
Lying / March 6, 2017

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
Lying / 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
Lying / 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:…