“Genuine ignorance is profitable, because it is likely to be accompanied by humility, curiosity, and open mindedness; whereas ability to repeat catch-phrases, cant terms, familiar propositions, gives the conceit of learning and coats the mind with varnish, waterproof to new ideas.”
We have all been in meetings when we have been encouraged to think ‘outside the box’, ‘use a blank sheet of paper’ and ‘blue sky dream’. They are nothing new. However, the success of these meetings is dependent upon the attendees, the preparation and the ability to listen. Blue sky thinking quickly deteriorates into a rainy day when the managers begin to see the problems too soon and the potential for new things is swamped by the clouds of past failings. Setting up these meetings well is so important.
Here are a few steps that may help;
- Determine who will attend – these meetings need more creatives than managers. You want ideas to flow without restraint, in the initial stages, and therefore require the big thinkers.
- Guard the ‘rules of the meeting’ – the chair of the meeting needs to ensure that all voices are heard. However, this is not enough, the chair of the meeting must also ensure that clouds are not allowed to form – stay strong in this.
- Every new idea matters – there is nothing in blue sky thinking that should be out of bounds, the limitations come in the next stages of discussion.
- Positive energy – the meeting should be positive thinking, leave the negative views at the door.
- Reward the thinkers – rewards take all shapes and forms but we need to credit those who come up with new ideas, they are the lifeblood of any organisation and prevent stagnation. If we value these people, they will continue to contribute to the benefit of everyone. They are often taking a big personal risk in sharing their ideas.
- Listen well – attendees must listen to absorb what is said. Then ideas can flourish – we often listen to argue with what is said, this is not listening, it is combat!
There are many more that could be added to the list, these are just for starters…..keep dreaming!
Thinking through some ideas for social enterprise. It is fun dreaming and the challenge is one that I am enjoying. As I have chatted with a few people, a light dawned – it is not revolutionary, it does not change the world, in fact, I wonder why the glaringly obvious was not in my mind anyway; needs do not always equate to demand. If social enterprise is to work well, it needs both.
For example, I know that I need to get fit, I have a stationary bike to help – do I use it? Need does not always equate to demand.
So what? Well, it makes me realise that if I want to get it right, I may need to think some more.
So many people with resolutions, as we discover every January, yet we know that many will fall by the wayside very quickly. Shattered and broken promises will start appearing within days and by the end of the month we may discover over 80% of resolutions have failed.
Rather than resolutions, we need to be more resolute in our plans – stay the course, keep to the narrow way and bear fruit. We may then discover that our plans do not need re-writing every 12 months but that they last a lifetime. That, my friends, is success.
As a leader, it is important to create an environment where the team can grow and develop their creativity. How is this achieved? Simple steps such as…..
- listen to your team carefully – without prejudging them
- honour their ideas
- credit their ideas without claiming credit for yourself
- continually seek opinions from team members
- help the team turn their ideas into reality
- thank the team for ideas and then thank them again
- show them that you care – have a pastor’s heart
- demonstrate with action as well as words
- accept challenges to your own ideas
- reward people for ideas – even if they are not actioned
none of these ideas will be new to you – implementing them does, however, take time and effort – that time and effort will be well rewarded