Sunday, October 6, 2013

Generating Ideas - A Leader's Role

The leader does not have to be the most inventive person on the team. But as leader, you need to release the potential for generating ideas that exists in all individuals and teams. This will help in both achieving a vision and resolving day to day issues.

Actively promote creativity by example, encouragement, rewards, training, procedures, budgeting processes and promotion. Lower any creative barriers by tolerating failures and eccentricity, flattening organizational structures and removing blockages, and refusing to tolerate conceptions such as not invented here, it will never work, if it was any good somebody else would have done it, and their equivalents. Also, recognize that consensus can be the enemy of creativity, and do not allow the pursuit of agreement to kill creative initiatives. If a creative idea is proposed to you, always consider it.

If you wait for ideas to come, they probably will not. A few rare people spout ideas all the time. But most of those attending an ideas meeting will be relatively dumb participants. To stop that happening, insist on two rules. First, everybody must come to the meeting with two or three genuinely new ideas, which can be as far-fetched as they like. 

Second, nobody is allowed to shoot ideas down in flames – rubbishing proposals without discussion. The important needs are to get ideas on the table and to encourage everybody to believe in their own powers of idea generation.

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