Get a Little Crazy - Leadership SHIFT Tip

In 1903, a French newspaper, printed on yellow paper, was in a crisis. Its circulation was weak. It needed a big idea. Pushed by the pressure of contributing to a brainstorming session, journalist, Géo Lefèvre, blurted out an idea.

“What if the paper sponsored a six stage, 1,500-mile bike race around France?” he suggested.

As the words flew out of his mouth, he tried to pull them back in. What did I do, he thought? Certainly, this was a career limiting move. His colleagues held in their laughter and were thankful that they didn’t contribute something so foolish.

Ok, I made the last part up. But, let’s be honest, Géo’s idea was a little cray-cray. 250 miles per day on 30-pound bicycles with just one gear???

But to his surprise, his management endorsed it.

And, by doing so, proved that all ideas are good ideas when it comes to brainstorming.

The concept was a total media stunt.

And it worked beautifully. L’Auto’s circulation exploded.

Today the race is a mixture of a marathon, chess, and NASCAR.

It’s called the Tour de France. And it’s still crazy.

What’s the one crazy idea that you have hidden away? The one you don’t want to say aloud or share with colleagues because you don’t want them to judge you.

It’s time to share it.

After all, Lefèvre, Blakely, and Jobs were all considered a little crazy in the beginning.

Have fun storming the castle! And make sure you wear your yellow jersey.