Ahead of one’s time: Fig. having ideas or attitudes that are too advanced to be acceptable in the present.: – so says the idioms portion of thefreedictionary.com
I’ve blogged about time a lot here at Engine For Change. In fact, of the 418 posts, 181 contain some reference to time. That’s 43%.
Yet, I don’t seem to have touched on the true, twitch-inducing, frustration-generating power of first being ahead of your time and then being forgotten in the moment.
When you are driving change, often you’ll try and fail or try and succeed at things that your organization will hardly notice for years.
Then, years (or decades) later, when the organization catches up, you’ll watch as person after person shows you the shiny new thing they found.
You’ll know its not new at all (you were the organization’s expert at Solution A in 2004), but they are right that it is new to them now in 2012. Often, the fact that it is new to them is all that matters).
In these moments where the organization catches up to and discovers a place you’ve already been, maybe you’ll want to gloat. Okay, but don’t gloat for long.
Instead, celebrate their find, encourage them to find the best places/concepts/details within their new find, and then challenge them to drive change with all their new energy.
Yes, you were ahead of your time. Noted. Now, your time has come so let’s get to driving some change.