Get People to Share Ideas, Energize & Entreprenurize!

In today’s incredibly competitive work world, we need to tap into the resources, ideas, and knowledge of the people around us.  Research indicates that many of the greatest ideas do not come from the headquarters of an organization, but from the “front lines.” Front line staff members are the closest to the problems, issues, and challenges.  They are the people who know the “nuts and bolts” and how things really work inside organizations. Without this information and perspective organizations can become stale, lose their competitive edge, and ultimately become extinct. 

The key question is: Are people around you sharing their thoughts, ideas, and perspectives?  Have you created an environment in which people feel as if they can? One sign this may not be happening to the extent it needs to is, if after you uncover a problem, you find yourself saying, “If only I had known.”  Often the answers to many of our issues and problems exist; unfortunately, sometimes we don’t find out in time or we don’t find out at all.

Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking we are usually hearing most of the ideas and opportunities around us. But, just consider how often you have seen other people (and maybe even yourself) not express their ideas because they rationalize no one cares or it won’t do any good? Therefore, it is only logical to consider that others might be doing this with you.   Unfortunately, sometimes we train and condition people not to share their ideas with us.  How and why does this happen?  

We tell people we want to hear their ideas and opportunities, but when they do share we may debate them or we may not take the time to really hear. We may be rushed or only partly listening. Consequently, the next time we ask for feedback and ideas, that person probably won’t be willing to share because they anticipate another negative response. In effect, we train and condition people not to be honest and open with their ideas and opportunities.

Even organizations as a whole, can unknowingly encourage people to stop sharing their ideas. For example, sometimes organizations give employee surveys and then don’t provide feedback for months, if at all.  In some cases, there is no feedback on specific actions the organization will take to make improvements. The employees conclude that sharing feedback and ideas won’t do any good and is a waste of time.
If you’re looking for a way to jumpstart the new year, consider “The Whole Enchilada” package from The Steven Gaffney Company success store.  

 This premium package includes Steven Gaffney’s products and is the optimum way to learn Steven’s honest communication strategies. This package includes Steven Gaffney’s books, CDs, audio seminar, calendar and sticky note products, and most importantly, The Steven Gaffney Company’s expert coaching – all for the INTERNET DISCOUNT price of $595, over $100 in savings from the retail price of all the products and coaching sold individually.  Click here for more details… ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The good news is there are some easy keys that you can implement that should help.  This may seem basic but are often not done or at least to the extent that they could.  Please read each one in detail and challenge yourself by asking, “On a scale from 1 to 10 how well do I do this?  What could I do to improve my rating?” 

1. Ask people for their ideas.  This seems obvious, but often employees complain that no one asks them – and they are too timid to offer.  The key is to constantly ask people for their ideas and ask them in a variety of settings.  Ask people in official meetings, ad-hoc and random meetings, and in one-on-one conversations.  Some people are more comfortable in one setting as opposed to another. If you keep asking them in different ways and in different situations they eventually will.  Their ideas may lead to new opportunities for the organization.  And, if employees feel their ideas have made a difference, they will be more likely to start to offer new ideas without asking.  Some organizations even make it a requirement, set goals and create metrics for receiving ideas. If you do this make sure it is for quantity of ideas, not quality. Remember, through quantity, you usually will get the quality. Plus, you may hear some crazy, radical ideas.   Those radical ideas, as history has shown, could turn out to be groundbreaking.

2. Appreciate all ideas.  Take all ideas seriously, regardless of what you’re thinking and feeling.  Don’t dismiss any idea or justify why something will not work to quickly. Ideas that seem crazy or off base at first could turn out to be the golden idea later.  Sometimes with a little tweaking, it might be the perfect idea to help you now.  You may not be able to use all or even most of the ideas, but be careful how you respond.  Be very aware of your facial gestures, body language, voice tone and words.  All should be open, appreciative and reflect a serious, “Your input is valued” response.  At least say thank you and let them know that you appreciate their ideas.   Appreciating people for sharing ideas sends the message to keep them coming.

3. Credit the creator of the idea. This may seem obvious, but I have had many participants in my seminars share how upset and disillusioned they have become because someone stole their idea and took credit. Make sure you give credit to the originator of the idea when you put it to use, even if you have evolved or altered it slightly.  This is critical for maintaining trust and creativity in an organization.  This encourages free flow of ideas because it lets people know that sharing ideas and opportunities is not a waste of time. Instead, it is a valuable resource. It makes a statement that idea sharing is rewarded and acknowledged in the organization. Make sure you understand how the originator wants to be credited.  Some people prefer public praise; some prefer private acknowledgement.  Either way, make sure credit is given to the originator as soon as possible.

How did you do in each of these keys on a scale from 1 to 10? Hopefully you see where you can improve to help solicit ideas and opportunities within an organization.  Getting people to share openly and honestly their ideas is an always improving, never-ending process.  When we create an environment where people want to share their ideas, we all reap the rewards!

Scroll to Top