Beware The Ideas of March
In William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, a soothsayer warns Caesar to, “Beware the Ides of March.” On the ancient Roman calendar, the Ides of March was simply the day of the month, March 15. And in 44 BC, Julius Caesar didn’t listen. He ignored the advice to be especially careful and was assassinated.
Now, two thousand years later, I encourage you to Beware the Ideas of March.
We’re currently trudging through performance reviews, bonus consideration and some have yet to put their final 2020 budget in place. And we’re all letting the ink dry on new plans for a better year.
Therein lies the challenge.
Never stop planning and cultivating new ideas. As early as March (or sooner), there will be bumps in the road. When that happens, listen. Be careful. Don’t cling to a plan when the right action might be to change course. Do it quickly, before the bigger banks can move suggestions up complex decision trees.
For every new idea baked into the plan created by senior management for the new year, there was an idea conceived in the mailroom. Someone in accounting has a great idea, and a business development officer in the field thinks they know a better way, as well. The IT people, operations folks and customer service people have some good ideas, too. And the people who are closest to the customer throughout the company also have some things to say. Beware the Ideas of March! It doesn’t mean to beware their existence. It means to beware ignoring them.
The worst idea is the one that is never considered. And some of the best are the ones that sounded ridiculous, at first. Sticky notes, pet rocks, mood rings and the Frisbee. Whether it’s a new product, a way to boost revenue, or a new way to provide better service to customers or squeeze costs out of the company, it shouldn’t matter where the idea comes from. If you haven’t done so lately, reach down in your bank. Provide a forum for reviewing ideas from every level of the organization.
It’s easy to dismiss this concept as dangerous, but it’s not. It’s much more dangerous to never ask in the first place. Whether in March or at another time, there’s an idea lurking out there, somewhere in your bank, that’s dying to be known.