Killing The Good Idea Fairy

"A paramount principle of a warrior spirit is the ability to Buck the system and speak the truth plainly when needed."
Written by Chris Schafer on Aug 27, 2019
Killing The Good Idea Fairy

Army of Darkness is routinely enjoyed at our house during family gatherings. More than an entertaining movie with a likable hero and great ending, the plot has poignant relevance for our world today. If you don't know the story, here is a quick synopsis.

Ash, the hero of the story, is thrown into another world via an evil presence. In his quest to return home, he is tasked with obtaining a book. To do so, he must say a sequence of twisted words. He is warned that to pronounce these words wrong will awaken the Army of Darkness.

At the critical point, he forgets the last word and fakes it under a cough. Then attempts to further cover his blunder by stating, "There I said it." into the darkness of the cemetery where he finds the book. Things go from bad to terrible as the Army of Darkness is unleashed do to Ash's well-intended efforts but poor performance. Later Ash admits to his mistake grudgingly but wants his part of the deal regardless of his mistake.

The comic action and goofy heroics of the movie without the happy ending is often the result of the good idea fairy in the real world whether it's a result of laziness or incompetence chaos and destruction reign without precise execution.

Warriors, however, approach good ideas or initiatives from a different foundation, which is a polar opposite of "There, I said it. Now give me what I want." fantasy land of movies.

How To Kill The Good Idea Fairy

Take Responsibility

    For the Leader:

Execution of any plan starts with taking responsibility for the idea, whether it fails or succeeds. Unfortunately, the trend today is to move the goal to meet the trajectory of the operation then declare success. This simple act of taking responsibility will have a powerful impact on the decision to push the go button on any initiative and transcends politics and gains of favor or position. 

    For the Worker:

Avoiding the good idea fairy when you are on the receiving end and responsible for making it all happen can be difficult at best. If this is you, I recommend reading Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss.

This excellent book includes tactics that are useful in ending time killing unless activities. This can be accomplished by restating what is requested in the form of a question without sarcasm. I have a real hard time with this, and it ends badly unless the boss is a wise guy also. Restating the task back to the requestor has the uncanny effect of inducing critical thinking. The significant part is that it makes the guy offering the earth-shattering idea to take responsibility.


The Warrior admits that they do not know everything. Warriors seek good counsel. Not to do so is to risk losing confidence and building a reputation as hiding behind status. Warriors know their strengths and weaknesses and will ask for help when needed without fear of being shamed by others.


The natural part of managing a project is to ensure that the right people are in the right positions with the budget training and equipment to accomplish the given task. The hard part is defending the actions of those that are doing the work. This is the job of a leader, not the manager.

Protect workers from themselves.

The laziness of "There I said it," will be evident when an initiative is rife with rework. Warriors know how to stay on task and not to do someone else job. Warriors know that to attempt to work outside their expertise only creates chaos.

More difficult yet is to take responsibility for mistakes of a good intended individual trying to make things happen. The Warrior spirit knows that defending a fellow teammate for their actions will impact them directly at times, creating pain and sometimes suffering.


Sometimes actions of an individual may not be well thought out but done with good intentions. This is an error of critical thinking. Training in flow charts can correct this shortcoming.

Instilling the Warrior Spirit:

A paramount principle of a warrior spirit is the ability to Buck the system and speak the truth plainly when needed. If its a "clown show" Warriors will call it just that, then explain why and how but also give a reliable solution simply and directly. This is done not as a personal attack or a threat to authority but done tactfully grabs the attention of the decision maker hammering home the point.

Killing the Good Idea Fairy is an ongoing battle so arm yourself with these Warrior Spirit principals and endeavor to remain vigilant for the "There I said it," look in peoples eyes.


Chris, a former Army Green Beret, is the CEO of Tactical 16 Publishing and holds Master's degrees in Business Strategic Management and in Business Administration From Colorado Technical University as well as a BS in Resource Management from Troy University. He coauthored the book Intrepid Professionals with Ph.D. Brent Carter.