Most of us feel comfortable going with a tested model and getting everyone to follow it for everyday operations. And we feel reasonably certain that it will yield us dividends. Of course, it will. But it will eventually kill the creative instinct in our employees and make them more and more dependent on the model. It will deprive us of better ideas which our employees can come up within a creative environment. Who knows, maybe the best solution to one of our nagging problems is right within an employee’s head! We may even have a new business idea which we have not yet explored.
I don’t deny the fact that standardization can avoid confusion and improve productivity. But all I’m suggesting is to not make the organization too rigid and to welcome newer ideas. You need to create a culture where ideas keep floating and your employees contribute to this pool without inhibitions.
Here are a few tips which can help you.
Encourage Your Employees to Openly Disagree. Ensure that your employees are not intimidated to express their views. Assure them, through positive gestures and a smile that it is okay to disagree. The more you listen to them, the more they feel encouraged. Keep in view that at times their ideas can sound superficial or crazy. Never reject them straightaway or be judgmental on the spot. If at all you need to reject an idea, explain why you cannot implement that idea. Thus, employees will learn where they are going wrong and feel encouraged because their idea was respected as you took the time to hear them out.
Discourage Group Thinking. In group thinking, one individual presents an idea and everyone follows it. Discourage this kind of attitude by showing that you don’t necessarily implement the first idea that comes up. Create a fun environment in brainstorming sessions. A serious atmosphere can be intimidating to timid individuals. Give everyone a fair chance to express their views. Be open-minded and never discriminate between individuals.
Some individuals can be too reserved to speak in public. So be approachable and encourage them to come to you any time.
Unite Individuals with Different Backgrounds. Idea generation can be at its best when individuals with different backgrounds, knowledge and perspectives come together. Ensure that both experts and fresher’s are on the discussion. At times fresher’s can give you a fresh perspective on a problem which experts cannot see.
Appreciate and Reward Originality. Show appreciation for original ideas by praising the individual(s) in communication meetings and public gatherings. Reward them suitably.
What sounds like a simple and intriguing idea can be an outstanding concept. So build trust with your employees and among your employees so that they come up with fresh and profitable ideas for your organization.