Jason Lauritsen - Crushing talent dogma to free human potential

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Getting Credit is Overrated

Early in my career, I used to get really wrapped up in getting credit for every idea and every bit of work I did.  I desperately wanted to be recognized for my contributions and my “brilliant” ideas.  I got so angry when a manager or coworker would take “my idea” and claim it as their own.

Here’s the thing about getting credit.  Credit doesn’t matter unless things get done.  I’ve seen too many times where people get so wrapped up in arguing over who gets credit that they forget that none of it matters unless the results happen.

My trajectory in my career changed for the better when I quit worrying about getting credit.  Here’s what I discovered.

  1. Your brilliant idea is more likely to become a brilliant reality when a group of people all feel like it’s their idea.  So, if you really want to get things done, be generous about giving away your ideas.
  2. Yes, it sucks when someone else steals your idea.  But, idea stealers know where their best “sources” of ideas come from.  So, realize that when your boss claims your idea as his own, it’s a weird sort of job security and shake it off.
  3. People get promoted based on what they can get done, not on how many great ideas they have.  Everyone has ideas, it’s the ability to turn ideas (yours and others) into results that is truly valuable.

Getting credit is about validation and recognition for most people.  The faster path to both of these things isn’t to fight over credit for ideas, it’s to get important stuff done.  Let go of credit and commit your energy to making things happen.  If you do, plenty of credit will come your way without you having to worry about it.

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  1. Deb F

    Ahh yes, the stealing of credit. Early in my career, HR did not ‘exist’ in a company I worked for. (Years before me, some HR person caused some problem and the owners forever more professed that HR would never exist in that company. Probably waved some jeweled wand with a velvet cape around their necks. Yeah, I found that out AFTER I accepted this first job out of college)
    When I came up with brilliant ideas, they had to be submitted by my boss in order to be considered as I didn’t ‘exist’. I learned to gain great satisfaction out of this, as I know they implemented my ideas nationwide and are still using 25 years later!

    Glad I learned this early in my career. There is uber satisfaction for me to plant ideas in people and see them run with it, and be successful. It is part of mentoring.

    My job is NOT to make ME look good, it is do what it takes to make my company perform better and look good to our customers.

    Yeah, I admit, it does feel good to get credit and recognition, but not what should drive us.

  2. Holly G

    I agree with your point that turning ideas into results is where the true value is.

    One thing I have learned (as an idea generator) is that feedback from a wide range of perspectives is necessary and strengthens even the best ideas. When this happens people invest in the idea and it becomes their too.

    You need this to execute – it a basic in leadership. And the best leaders give all the credit to someone else, at least I do.

    I enjoy your blog.

Jason Lauritsen