Sometimes I can't tell if we live in a time where creative problem solving is at a all time high or an all time low. On one end, you have creative problem solving organizations like Apple, Google, and the Global Orphan Project. On the other end, we have unsuccessful problem solving organizations like Congress, France, and the Post Office. The problem solvers are still trying to blaze a trail. The unsuccessful have a death grip on the way things have been and don't want to let go. What kind of leader are you? Are you like an unsuccessful organization fearful of maybe trying something new? Or are you like a successful organization that doesn't wait for a problem to arrive to be creative and imaginative?
Do you understand that as a leader, your imaginative ideas are far more productive in the hands of your team than they are locked up in your head? Don't be selfish keeping these ideas in your head. When a leader brings his/her idea to the team and gives space for conversation it's like adding rocket fuel to the potential take off of an idea.
Now it is true, the same conversation may be rocket fuel that slams the idea in the ground so that it obliterates it on contact never to be seen or mentioned again. Or, your idea might go like this:
But your team may pick up the black box and find one thing that was right. That one thing might change everything or start something new. Or, your idea could be a fantastic idea and your team only makes it better or sees challenges that you didn't anticipate. You have to get that idea (or a possible solution to a problem) out of your head and into the hands of your people.
Here is how you set this up:
1. Always pick a strategic time - If you make your idea a casual conversation, a casual response is what you will get.
2. Give your team permission to dialogue - This is a big deal if your team is new to one another or lacking chemistry. You want to encourage conflict not avoid it. If you present an idea and everyone agrees that means you are sitting with a team of followers and not a team of leaders.
3. Don't make your idea a noose - The best thing about your idea is that it's an idea. Don't hang yourself with it! That means it isn't real yet, it isn't being worked on or cost your team valuable hours of work yet. Don't let your pride get in the way. Your failed idea may spark the solution in someone else.
4. NOW WHAT? - Don't ever leave the conversation without "the next steps". If you are going to call a meeting, have dialogue, battle with each other, and come to an agreement. Make sure that there are "next steps "or you just waisted everyone's time.
Don't allow fear to control you over something that isn't even real yet, but instead allow conversation to fuel a new idea. If all you are wanting is people to stand in line waiting for you to tell them what to do go work at the Post Office.
What keeps you from getting that idea out of your head and into the hands of your team?