5 Ways to Plant Good Ideas
Every organization depends on the creativity of its team members. Men and women must be willing to re-imagine ways of doing business. Traditional strategies wont work forever and leaders are starving for fresh ideas. You may edit a current process or dream up a whole new program. In any case there are some things you can do to increase your likelihood of success. 1) Be careful where you think out loud. Some people will not give you a second chance to pitch your idea. I process things verbally and assumed that everyone else did as well. After years of getting shot down I finally came to the conclusion that not every team meeting is a safe place to field new ideas. I was frustrated because I operated under the assumption that people would track with me. I later realized that key people were unwilling or incapable of tracking with me. This shouldn't have come to me as such a surprise considering the fact that I dont always know where I am going with dreams and ideas. That is the whole point of talking it out (or so I thought). Find the right people to bounce ideas off of. These are creative people who can help you see the gaps in your plan. They wont shoot you down but they have to be willing to call you back to reality as well.
2) Write things down on paper. Dont allow people to hear second hand versions of your idea. Write it down so they can grasp it in your own words. You may also be surprised at how helpful the writing process it. It becomes easier to see gaps and identify weak spots in your plan when it goes down in black and white. People have a valuable interaction with written ideas. They can give you feedback, process on their own time, and integrate their own words onto the page.
3) Make it fit into one sentence. Your idea should be summed up in one or two sentences. If it takes a paragraph to explain what you are up to forget it. Complexity will come later. Right now you need to be able to describe what it going to happen from far away. Everyone will break out the magnifying glass when the time comes. Too many details too early on can kill a good idea. Use plain english here: no buzz words. Worry about things sounding good later. The most important part of bringing your idea to the table is that people understand exactly what you are proposing.
4) Your idea must solve a problem. Add value to your idea by explaining what problem it is going to solve. Good ideas are fueled by difficult problems. Ask yourself what problem is this solving and consider if it will be worth the work. Everyone is busy so your idea becomes compelling when it is going to help your team do better work.
5) Your idea must contribute to the big picture. Do not bring ideas to the table that compete with the greater vision for your organization. You may ask, how are we ever going to change? That is a good question. Do not go about rearranging deck chairs on a sinking ship. If the bigger picture of your organization is no good then you need to be having different conversation. If you dont agree with the direction of your organization know that you will not help it by diverting momentum through your ideas. Businesses waste valuable time, churches split and teams fall apart in this way.
You can write a book on any one of these five ideas. They are simple reminders for us all when bringing new ideas to the table. What things have you found valuable when presenting new ideas to your team?