Not Invented Here
In the history of organizational success, the enterprises that dominate tend to flawlessly execute on ideas that were created elsewhere. Examine just about any market leader, and you will find they looked outside for an idea, product, or service and decided to perfect it.
Yet, despite the value of learning and benefitting from the best practices of others, it is common for many leaders to reject anything not created within the walls of their own organization.
Teams and organizations with a rich history, a close-knit culture, and vigorous team pride often have the strongest bias against anything from the outside. The effects of this syndrome can be devastating.
The xenophobia of ideas "not invented here" cripples organizations over the long run, and often allows competitors to destroy longstanding value by embracing better ideas and executing them with polish.
The problem of insulating people from outside influences almost always starts with team leaders who believe it shows weakness to look outside for new ideas and best practices. Team leaders with this flaw infect everyone on the team with this same false pride.
The reality is that the leader’s unwillingness to acknowledge or value the work of others outside the team is a form of arrogance that weakens the very thing it is meant to protect. Couched as team pride, the "not invented here" mentality prevents the best ideas and practices from finding their way into the organization.
Leaders who embrace this mentality are said to believe in toothbrush theory. Everyone wants one. Everyone needs one. But no one wants to use someone else’s. It doesn’t take a genius to understand the ultimate effect this attitude has on team success. Thankfully, most team success solutions and practices are more like toothpaste than toothbrushes.
Leaders often disregard good ideas developed elsewhere in favor of internally developed ideas that are often inferior. Your job as a leader is reject this unspoken conceit and to push people to value a good idea no matter where it comes from. The best leaders teach others to find ideas and best practices anywhere and to execute them flawlessly.
A “proudly found elsewhere” mentality is critical to the long-term success of any team or organization. When leaders look both inside and outside for ideas worth replicating, team members follow suit. It’s time for the monopoly of "not invented here" to end in your organization. Not everything is a toothbrush.
This post does a very good job in explaining the "bright side" of 'Not Invented Here'. In my work, I seem more often what I call the 'dark side' - New leaders joining a company and not spending any time learning what has been done, what is working, what is not working, and what was tried before but failed. They come in and feel compelled to make their mark quickly (First 90 days). I see this happen in lower ranks of supervisors, managers, and directors too. Do you know what I'm talking about? Has anyone else experienced this? I'm dealing with it right now in fact.
So good. I love the "Toothbrush Theory". I had not heard that before.
"Proudly found Elsewhere" shall be a newly adopted mantra. (& i didn't even think of it myself!).