We've all been shafted. It's almost a rite of passage in business, especially if you are a leader in your field.
A friend mentioned to me she was in discussions with a colleague on an idea they were to develop together. Three months later she received a marketing email from a competitor promoting their EXACT idea.
What can one learn to avoid this happening?
1. As much as possible, only discuss ideas with people who are far removed from being able to execute your idea. If it must be with someone in the same field, have some formal agreement in place, maybe a non disclosure and/or non competition agreement. It’s also a good idea to do a little ‘research’ of a prospective ‘colleague’ before entering into any discussions.
2. Learn to talk in context not content. For example, mention the type of system or company or position of a person that could be helpful in supporting your ‘idea’ without being specific with names.
3. Don't allow yourself to be 'pumped'. The best leaders are also the best listeners, so ask more questions than you answer. Keep it short and leave them wanting and needing more.
4. If they are taking notes in the meeting without both agreeing beforehand, this should be a good indication they plan on ‘using’ these ideas. Stop sharing immediately.
If you feel you have been shafted, you can always let them know you are aware of what they have done by thanking them for bringing your idea to life. Or just grin and bear it because there is nothing you can about it except not make the same mistake twice.
Remember, people can copy you but they can never BE you and have your unique talent in executing a given idea.