MONDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2009
It's not your idea that counts! It's the best idea that makes the difference. So, let's stop the continuous effort to take credit for the best idea. Instead, let's create a nurturing and non-threatening environment in the groups and teams we work with. When members of the team are involved they feel valued. When they are sure that their ideas will never suffer ridicule no matter how outlandish they may be, the ideas will flow copiously. The more the ideas the better the chance that some may click. Only a very small fraction of ideas floated will ever come to fruition or even be worth working on.
Therefore, the leader must create the conditions for the the free flow of a very large number of ideas. Only then, the best ideas, maybe 1% of the total number of ideas, will emerge. The leader must ensure that idea generation and idea evaluation are separated by time and space. In other words, never evaluate an idea when its being presented. Instead, record, document and capture the idea for evaluation later. That's when ideas will be churned out in large numbers. In group meetings and discussions the leader must constantly guard against shooting down someone's thoughts or tips. They must be acknowledged without necessarily being agreed to. Then, the list of captured ideas can be sifted and sorted, analyzed and rated, prior to acceptance and implementation. The probability of a winning idea emerging will then climb dramatically. In today's environment, leadership is all about building an idea generating factory.