The “Best Idea Wins” philosophy is something every organization should encourage from the top-down, regardless of team size.

The philosophy of “Best Idea Wins” was something I came across while listening to the Bill Simmons Podcast in 2017 (skip ahead to 55:45 to hear Cranston tell the story).

Actor Bryan Cranston, who is famous for his roles on Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle, and Seinfeld, among others, was a guest on Simmons’ podcast and described a moment when an unexpected idea led to one of the funniest scenes on the Seinfeld in his role as “dentist to the stars” Tim Whatley.

As Cranston described to Simmons, he was sitting alone on the set after rehearsing with Jerry Seinfeld when he received advice from an unlikely source.

“I hear a voice saying, ‘Hey, you know what would be funny?’ and I look out and, on a ladder adjusting a light, is a guy,” Cranston recalled. “And he goes, ‘It would be funny if you first took a hit of the laughing gas before you gave it to him.’”

Without telling Seinfield or director Larry David his plan for the scene, Cranston pulled off the idea from the man on the ladder and made everyone on the set die from laughter, including Seinfeld. The actors had to keep doing the scene over and over because Seinfeld could not stop laughing.

Once they finally finished the scene, Seinfeld and David began praising Cranston for the laughing gas idea, but Cranston pointed out that it was the man on the ladder, now standing in the back of the set, who pitched him the idea.

Great ideas can come from anywhere.

Regardless of the size of your team or your role, the Best Idea Wins philosophy is something every organization should be encouraging from the top down. Listening to every suggestion and idea and letting the best one rise to the top is ultimately going to make your organization more innovative and drive it forward, while also building goodwill and relationships with your employees and colleagues. 

With so much change and uncertainty in K-12 education, schools and districts of all shapes and sizes need a plethora of ideas to ensure students and families are getting the best possible experience. From a staff recruitment and retention perspective, the Best Idea Wins mentality will keep your team involved and engaged in a way that builds comradery because they feel empowered to throw ideas out there in a way that’s encouraged from the top down.

Is your organization driven by a “Best Idea Wins” mentality?

Skip ahead to 55:45 to hear Cranston tell the story.

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