When trying to come up with new product features or integrations at my company, Do, we give thoughtful consideration to each and every idea and always make sure to involve everyone — no matter their role in the company. We strive to get a holistic array of ideas, stemming from a wide variety of perspectives. And this process is ultimately what guides us towards creating great ideas — ones that we will be able to successfully execute on.
If your team members aren’t that invested in your ideas, “a lack of ownership” might seem like a reasonable explanation. But if you aren’t involving your employees in your decision-making process, it could also be that you’re abusing your power and lording it over them.
Even amazing ideas can go to waste in such an environment. So how do you create ideas people will want to carry out? Here are several steps you can follow.
Ask for Suggestions From Your Team Members
Do you have a corner on the market for great ideas? Well, you might think that you do, but you probably have team members who could bring some great suggestions to the table.
This is where brainstorming sessions prove invaluable. By collecting and cataloging everyone’s thoughts, you can build a repository of ideas that you can refer to time and again. But there are a couple of things you should be aware of. Brainstorming sessions often aren’t that effective. The ideas that are generated may provide leads and clues as to how to proceed, but they are unlikely to be ready-made solutions for the problems at hand. In addition, idea generation is a muscle that must be exercised. If you aren’t in the practice of coming up with ideas on a daily or weekly basis, your first 10 (or even 100) may not be that great.
The same can certainly be said for your team. How often are you actually facilitating brainstorming sessions with them? If you answered “not often,” then you shouldn’t be surprised when the quality of ideas isn’t phenomenal.
Dedicate Time to Thinking and Reflecting
Alone time is essential to the creation of great ideas. Group sessions may help you get a big-picture view of what needs to be (or what could be) done, but they won’t necessarily provide you with the most inspired insights. Again, if you’re the only one spending time in thought and reflection and your team isn’t involved in the process, they’re not going to be that invested in your ideas — no matter how good they may be.
Encourage your employees to take an hour of their day just thinking and reflecting. Then have them present their new, more refined ideas to you. At Do, every morning make an agenda so we can reference it throughout the day.
Give Your Team Members Congruent Responsibilities
Once all of the ideas are out in the open and you’ve had the chance to play idea alchemy, it’s time to bring the new project to your team. If you take the idea and run with it but you don’t delegate any responsibilities, your employees aren’t going to want to carry it out. And this isn’t just about delegation. It’s about understanding the strengths and weaknesses — as well as likes and dislikes — of your team.
When you give them work they want to do, work they’re good at, or work you believe they’re capable of handling, they’ll be far more likely to do what’s necessary to keep the idea alive. After all, they contributed to it.
If you want to create ideas that people will want to carry out, it’s necessary to see that brainstorming is a collaborative process. Make sure you’re handing over the right tasks to the right people. Finally, get good at vision-casting. Get people excited about the possibilities and remember to help your people and stay committed to the completion of the idea.
Author: Jason Shah is the founder and CEO of Do, a collaboration platform that helps you run productive meetings.