You’re not the only one with great ideas!

‘I wish my staff took the initiative! ‘That was a comment made to me in a recent meeting with someone. His particular concern was people waiting to be told what to do or for ideas, and not just taking the initiative and doing it. So it got me thinking, ‘why wouldn’t they?’ Of course after further conversation and a better understanding of this particular scenario, it became clear that these guys don’t feel valued and don’t believe their ideas or actions would be appreciated. The reason for that, I believe, is because they have no formal ‘platform’ or ‘outlet’ through which to raise ideas and initiatives, less so, the space in which to try new things.

Staff are your first customer, hopefully we all know that. But, so many businesses have started small and grown exponentially, still operating the same way as when they started up. Staff are often allowed to operate within their comfort zone ‘because that’s how we’ve always done it’. It is often overlooked though, when businesses are looking to increase performance or grow, that they should look within before looking to recruit. Are you sure your staff are happy? Are you sure they are doing what they are best at? And are you giving them a platform to voice their ideas and opinions, knowing they won’t be pilloried for any ‘crazy’ ideas – after all there are quite possibly people in your business that know it better than you, right?

Making this kind of positive change can open up a whole new set of opportunities. Indeed, our own ‘creative brainstorming sessions’ are usually littered with ridiculous ideas that we’d dare not share with our clients, but more often than not we can trace the routes of the ‘winner’ back to one of those – and are cause for some mirth to boot.

I was delighted recently when one of our clients, Wilson Partners, a firm of accountants and advisors with a firm focus on entrepreneurs and fast paces businesses, came to us with the requirement of some ‘internal graphics’ for their offices. This had come about from their people having suggested that the office was looking a little bland and would benefit from a splash of colour. As the project took on some momentum, we got everyone involved at Wilson Partners and they were given the opportunity to choose some of their favourite quotes, it didn’t matter who the quote was by, it was about what it meant to them, as individuals. The result was not just a ‘splash’ of colour, but some fun graphics, inspirational quotes (Check out Einstein in the image accompanying this blog) and a great use of words and statements that complement and support their own core values. The most fun part was that nobody knew what to expect and with the graphics being installed at night, their Wednesday morning was certainly brightened up with the addition of some bold colours, a sense of humour and a new workplace environment that everybody played a part in.

So, when you are looking to make change in your business – think about who is going to help make those changes. Maybe you will work with them to bring about the change, or maybe you will establish a volunteer steering committee. Whichever route you go down, ensure that your people are aware of the changes, why you are implementing them and what you expect the outcome to be? And be sure that everyone is on board, because if you haven’t sold it to them, how can you expect them to sell it to your customers? Don’t let growth dilute your core values and your inner brand strength; after all it’s where the true value lies!

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