Learn more here on how to encourage and generate a learning culture where ideas are truly valued.  Discover this new way to attack ideas and not people!

Here, we learn some simple steps that any manager can implement not only to encourage a climate where employees feel able to offer ideas but also to ensure that only the best of those ideas survive to the point of implementation.

  1. Create psychological safety for your team.  Communicate to them clearly that any idea, expressed by anyone at any level of the organisation regardless of rank or status will be listened to and evaluated on its own merits.  Nobody will be judged or criticised regardless of whether their idea is implemented or not.
  2. Don’t get hung up on ownership.  Once an idea is placed ‘onto the table’ by anyone, regardless of their status, it is no longer owned by the person.  It is placed there to be shared fully with others.  To be examined and vigorously tested.  What are the pros and cons of this idea?  Can it be enhanced and improved upon by the suggestions of others present?
  3. Lead by example.  The manager should from the outset demonstrate that these principals apply equally to themselves. He/she can start by offering an idea, placing it ‘on the table’, encouraging others to vigorously test and where required adapt or reject it.
  4. A greater quantity will result in mixed results at the beginning.  Recognise from the outset that when lots and lots of ideas are generated some when examined and tested will turn out to be truly awful, some mediocre and some exceptional.  Each idea should undergo the same level of testing and those that are discarded recognised as useful to the team for clarifying what it is they value and are truly seeking.
  5. Be as inclusive as possible.  Look for who isn’t contributing to the process.  Approach them with curiosity rather than criticism.  Is it a lack of confidence or could there be any other reason?
  6. Finally, there is never a ‘right time’ to implement.  Recognise that no new idea will ever be perfect nor will there ever be a perfect time to begin its implementation.  If you wait for perfection the opportunity will be lost.  Yes, test it vigorously, debate it with passion and try to improve upon the initial idea but recognise that the real learning will be in the ‘doing’ rather than the ‘thinking’.

Joe McDonald is founder of create10.  create10 works with individuals, teams and organisations is generating ideas, solutions and improving performance.  One to one professional coaching, impactful team workshops & great online courses.  For more information check out www.create10.ie