“I Can’t Believe You Did That!” – Stealing Ideas at Work.

If someone stole your idea, you know it really stings. Yet taking credit for other people’s ideas is an time-time practice that’s not going away anytime soon.

We were invited to be the guest expert for CBC Radio’s Ontario Today call-in show, which focused on stealing ideas in the workplace. Callers told stories that were fascinating, funny, touching and puzzling.

Listen to a five-minute audio segment (begin at minute 4:30 and end at 9:20) and use it as a springboard for discussing the questions below. Or listen to the full 35 minutes of the program and use any of the below questions as they apply.

Discussion Questions:

In your team, consider any or all of the following questions:

  1. How would you define ‘stealing ideas’ is the context of your specific work? What actions might be considered ‘stealing’ (and which might not)?
  2. In your work context, which ideas are okay to borrow or even ‘steal’? Conversely, for which types of ideas should people take extra care in crediting the source? Which (if any) require less meticulous care?
  3. Describe three typical situations in your environment that might raise potential problems related to ‘stealing ideas’.
  4. Research suggests that when people feel they were dealt with in an incivil way, they will go to great lengths to get even. In general, what ‘getting even’ actions to people typically do to get even when their idea had been stolen or credit was not given where they feel  it was due?
  5. What preventive actions can you take in your team to ensure that no problems arise as a result of people feeling that their ideas had been stolen?
  6. If you feel that someone stole your idea, what are three criteria you can use to decide whether or not to approach that person directly?
  7. If you feel that someone stole your ideas or did not give you proper credit, what are three criteria that will help you determine whether to approach your manager about the situation?
  8. In which situations should you let go of your resentment, laugh about the whole thing and move on?


Remember, don’t hesitate to get in touch for any need or exploration with which we might assist you.


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