I liked Pavel Brodzinski‘s comment (here) on my networking post. His point is right on and I wished I had elaborated on the point myself. As Pavel notes, coming from the outside with fresh energy can revive previously-lost causes. I also see some additional benefits/approaches to surfacing “already failed” ideas during your initial networking:
- As an outsider, you can ask open-ended and naive questions about the failed concept without appearing ignorant. Also, this approach gets people to talk more openly about what really went wrong.
- Even if you think it is a great idea and you’ve seen it work, listen to the answers first. To that end, don’t immediately endorse, complement, or promote the old idea.
- Finally, listening to the answers is a great way to assess these stakeholders. While Byham’s article emphasizes the need to establish credibility, credibility is a two-way street.
The ideal benefits from taking the these steps are a perspective on the “real” causes of the previous failure, an understanding of whether or not it may work again, and a map of the stakeholders you’ll have to navigate around.