Stealing ideas. It happened in your 8th grade science project, it happened in your college Poli. Sci. course, and it’s happening now. Whether someone is entirely stealing your original idea or taking credit for an idea you hatched in a meeting, it never feels good for anyone to use something you created to better themselves or advance their career.
Recently, Inc. published an article called “What to Do When Employees Steal Your Ideas.” They focused heavily on the boss/employee relationship, and what can happen when someone you supervisor takes your idea. Ultimately, when idea stealing happens in this way, an employee usually leaves the company and takes their boss’ idea to a competitor or consulting company. And while this kind of betrayal has its own set of issues, ultimately Inc.’s article applies across the board to anyone who has ever said, “Hey, that’s my idea!”
It’s biggest piece of advice - “take it as a compliment.”
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then having someone try to recreate your entire company should make you feel positively fawned over. “You can look at it as a) ‘You’re ripping me off!’ or b) ‘I’m flattered because you like what we’re doing,’” Sjolseth says.
When this situation happens to you, it’s ok to take the “they’ll get theirs” perspective. No one who shamelessly steals someone else’s idea will get by on that for long. And know that even if it’s a stolen idea, you are the one who has the power to execute it. So take it as a compliment, and move on to the next big idea.