A great new idea is like striking gold for any leader and team. It can be collected, examined, enriched and sold. But the process of finding the gold can be difficult even for the best of leaders and managers.
Creative Filters that thwart creativity - “I will not offer my idea until I am sure it’s what my boss is really looking for.” “The last time I offered an idea my colleagues ridiculed me.” “My ideas are too off the wall for my manager.” “My ideas never get accepted, so I will not try.”
What risk is there in sharing ideas? Many, you say, theft, betrayal, ridicule, doubt? Oh yes, and let’s not forget jealousy and ego. As Albert Einstein said,
Great ideas often receive violent opposition from mediocre minds!
Remove the Filters
We have learned to layer ourselves with filters that we believe protect our professional life. With training and coaching, a leader will be able to help his team feel safe during the creative process, strip off the filters, get the best ideas, and return the creative process to the most basic.
Give a child a shovel on the beach and he will create a dream castle. Give an adult a shovel and he will most likely store it in the garage. Millions of ideas have been stuffed into garages, attics, drawers, or abandoned in corners.
Tap Into Creativity and Gain Buy In
Access both sides of the brain - unlock your team’s fears of being a little “wild.” Give them a green light to express their ideas. A strong leader will encourage every idea, while focusing on core principles like:
There are no wrong answers - Encourage your team to put a lid on the left side that is always telling you, “Be careful, do not take professional risks, don’t share your ideas or someone will take them.”
Encourage every idea no matter how wild it might seem- At the age of fourteen Filo T. Farnsworth saw the idea for electronic television in the parallel lines of his father's potato field in Idaho. He battled with David Sarnoff of RCA until the bitter end. Sarnoff became rich and Farnsworth won only the title of “The father of television.” But while watching Neil Armstrong step on the moon, he said, “it was all worthwhile.”
Rub one idea against another - Jim Henson created Kermit while home with the flu. He was inspired by his mother’s old green coat. He got the scissors, added a tennis ball, and Kermit was born! Having shared Kermit, his concept of a whole troop of lovable creatures got team love and development. Henson helped his crew rub one idea on the other to come up with the best ideas and characters.
Defer judgment – keep comments positive. As the team leader you wield power over individuals. Your opinion influences advancement and stature. You have implicitly promised to keep ideas and people safe in the brainstorming session.
Gaining Buy In
Lead through discussion
Focus on quality – which idea has monetary value, can be implemented and will advance the project.
Analyze all possibilities - Grow and play with each idea. A better football, NERF balls, play dough, slime, all came from playing with an idea. The more they kicked it around and played with it the bigger the idea grew. Love the process – Stephen Spielberg said,” I dream for a living.”
Lead your group to the best solution – “No, that does not mean – tell them what the best solution is.” Work through the ideas with the group until you come up with a common consensus that incorporates bits from many ideas that evolved during the creative session.
Every new idea is a great one. Learning how to become an effective leader, who knows how to manage his people and get the best ideas from his team, will help you advance your professional course.
The only bad idea is the one that stays in your heart and head.
An effective leader can convert those creative nuggets into gold.
Bill Gates - We are not even close to finishing the basic dream of what the PC can be.
Taking a risk on your team’s ideas, giving the ideas flesh and voices, may be a bit daunting. But ideas will never be brought together and grown if they remain silent. We can help you learn how to be a highly effective leader, who can turn ideas into gold.