Two key aspects of business success are systemisation and innovation.
If you look at your own business – how well and how often do you think you are innovating and, if the answer isn’t what you would like it to be, what is stopping you?
One often untapped resource for innovation, is making it a habit to encourage brilliant ideas from within our organisation!
As leaders, if we don’t create an environment where we can draw out said brilliance, we miss out on creative ideas and innovation from people who care passionately about (and are on the front lines of) the product or service we offer. We can also miss out on ways forward that can lead to business growth and greater profitability.
The untapped power of your team and the brains trust you have at your fingertips is not to be underestimated. If you don’t believe me, then take a leaf out of Pixar’s book. They have been having these all-important ‘brains trust meetings for years – from which some of their most popular and successful movies were created and developed.
Is it time to increase the levels of innovation and team engagement in your business?
Here are some tips for fostering brilliant brainstorming and harnessing the brains trust in your team;
- Set expectations well Make sure your team has been pre-briefed on when this brainstorming session is happening and what it is for. If you know what you are seeking ideas around, let them know beforehand. Some of your team may be reflective thinkers and may not be as good at coming up with their ideas in the moment. Set them up for success by giving them a chance to think things through prior to your meeting.
- Speak up. Yes you! Everyone is invited to speak. This is a meeting of minds and a meeting of equals. There is no hierarchy in a brainstorming session and anyone can speak up and throw in ideas. Having a facilitator who can ensure we hear from some of our quieter team members is crucial. This is especially important for the introverts on your team. The more extroverted personalities on your team have a tendency to hijack these kinds of sessions but high-quality ideas can often come from insightful introverts as well. If you don’t ask, you won’t get, so invite them repeatedly for their input and ideas.
- No idea is a bad idea in a brainstorming session Even if you think as the leader, ‘that’ll never work’, there’s no need to say that in the brainstorming session. You need to let the idea factory flow. You have to go through all the mud to get to the gold. All ideas are welcome. All voices are welcome. And you never know, something completely left field can be an idea that changes the course of your business or has a profound impact on your team. Later, when you are moving on to work with your top ideas, you can weed out ideas that are more mediocre than brilliant but no one needs to be shot down in the team meeting in the process of making suggestions. If their ideas are shot down in front of their peers, how often do you think they will contribute in a team setting going forwards? Unless they have extremely thick skin, their voice will become a whisper that leads to silence. We all miss out when that happens.
Some extra benefits of these ‘brains trust’ sessions, as well as the wonderful input and brilliant ideas for your business, is that you are enhancing your team culture and creating more psychological safety. Also, when teams feel they play a bigger role in the direction and success of the organisation, they become more engaged and feel a sense of ownership. It’s a wonderful way to build confidence and boosts morale for the team.
So take out your schedule, book in a brainstorm and be ready to set the expectations for a session that encourages the input of every member of your team – and watch the brilliance begin!
Does the idea of running a brainstorming session stress you out?
I provide coaching sessions for leaders to help them do exactly this and more within their teams – or I can even run it for you. If you’d like to get in touch, I’d love to chat more about your business, your team and how I can help you bring out their brilliance!