What are your ideas worth?

If you’re in a club, organization, or company, you’ve probably come across people who have lots of ideas. They’ve always got a suggestion about what the group should change, initiate, or roll out. And they often express those ideas with some version of, “We should…”

“We should do a different fundraiser this year—nobody likes selling candy bars.”

“We should recruit more people to join us. We’d get a lot more done.”

“We should do better training for our managers.”

Good ideas are valuable. If you’ve got them, you should share them, as an idea’s validity within an organization is often determined in part by how many others are willing to get behind it.

But please don’t mistake proposing the idea for a valuable contribution. The idea is the easier part. What’s harder and much more valuable is everything that happens next.

What are you willing to do to test that idea? What initiative will you show? What responsibility will you assume? What risk will you take with your time or energy or reputation?

An idea is only worth something if it creates a change. And for that to happen almost always requires someone championing it, someone who’s willing to assume responsibility for enrolling interested parties, pushing through the difficulties and the compromises, and successfully shipping an often not necessarily perfect but certainly good enough version.

An idea that never comes to life fades away. But one that comes to fruition can be evaluated, tweaked, and learned from.

So the next time you’re about to say, “We should____,” consider following it with, “And I’m willing to____ to make it happen.”

The more you’re willing to offer in the second piece, the more likely people will get excited about the first.