"Good Artists Borrow, Great Artists Steal" – Pablo Picasso

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

I attended a meeting last week with my mastermind group and our coach, Alan Weiss in Washington, DC. I was discussing Retooling Leadership Development (my new book with Michael Couch due out in early 2020) and the best ways to promote a book after it is released. The group came with a variety of best practices that had worked for them and given that this group had written over 70 books in total (with Alan writing about 60 of them) there were a lot of impressive ideas that I could follow as well as a few specific ideas I plan to steal.

Some of the most successful people in the world have begged, borrowed or stolen their great ideas from others. Steve Jobs stole his idea for the computer mouse and user interface from Xerox. The Beatles stole their “woooo” from Little Richard. Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous quote, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” was borrowed from a series of 1853 sermons delivered by Theodore Parker, a Unitarian Minister.

The key to effectively garnering and using other people’s good ideas is to listen, be a great observer, and consider what would work best in your situation. Our tendency is to think we always have the best ideas, but guess what…other people have great thoughts as well…and some of them may be better than what we’ve been considering.

It’s certainly appropriate and proper to give people credit for the intellectual thoughts you may have learned from them. Over time, however, these notions will meld into your own experiences and thoughts and will become your own. Soon, you’ll discover that others may be mimicking your good ideas and giving you credit for them.

Theft is never good but when it comes to taking and using great ideas, no one is going to arrest you. Who knows, with enough of them you may be surprised to discover that you even become the new sheriff in town.

Your Challenge this Week: Pick a high performer who lives in your world and take some detailed notes on how she or he behaves. Apply one of those actions in your world and let me know how it improves your performance.

© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2019


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