Your organization is a talent pool. Do you utilize it?

Most managers sincerely believe they are open minded and willing to accept suggestions or new ideas from employees. I hear often about open door policies and freedom to speak freely at meetings. But the devil is in the details.

Let’s assume you are open to hearing new ideas. When a suggestion for improvement is proffered, what happens? What’s the process of evaluating a thought nugget at your business? The first step is usually to look for a flaw in the proposal. If it passes the flaw test the idea moves to step two which is typically some sort of consensus building routine like, “if Fred in shipping will go for it we can try that.”

So what’s wrong with that?

Well, first of all, if people know their idea is going to examined for flaws, they just might fear presenting it. People don’t like to be embarrassed in front of their peers. Sure, you’re open to hearing ideas but do you convey a willingness to look for the positive within a proposal before you look for the negative? Convey. That’s the operative word. You don’t have to say you don’t like an idea, you can just convey it.

Look at the picture. Does this guy like what he’s hearing?

So if you start by examining the merit of a proposal rather than looking for flaws, you convey sincere openness to receiving ideas. Save the what ifs and advocating for the devil for later in the process and more employees will offer more ideas.

The best thoughts come from within your business. Foster the talent pool and you’ll see great things happen.

Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog
[email protected]