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We want to encourage engagement from every level of our organizations and ensure the thoughtful contribution of each team member. This includes everyone submitting their ideas and bringing best practices to the table.
Along with this encouragement brings the brainstorming and downloading of new ideas and creating systems to explore initiatives. Then you can plan out the ideas that will benefit your vision and give them a realistic timeframe. Doing so will provide clarity of your assignment and your desired outcomes. This can make all the difference in how well they are accepted and executed.
We have recently been through a season of conferences and planning. Introducing the great takeaways from a continuing education or due diligence conference can be confusing without the proper context.
We hope great ideas will flourish in your environment. We encourage you to continue reading, attending conferences, watching Ted Talks, hearing about what leaders in your communities are doing and bringing opportunities to the table. Let’s lay out the steps that can make this appreciated, celebrated and woven into the DNA of your practices.
Kaizen is a Japanese term for continuous improvement. Literally, it means “plan, do, review.” It is so essential to steadily improve our methods and practices in a healthy way. We never want Kaizen to turn into Karoshi (death by overwork); instead, we want to improve and see our results translate over time slowly.
If you already have this down, we want to hear your stories, but too often I see the struggle. It can go like this:
One of our CEOs attends a conference. There are many great ideas shared both from the keynote podium and the dining table with colleagues. The excitement brews and maybe six or so ideas out of the plethora offered are highlighted to take back and install into the existing processes.
A team meeting or huddle is held where three days of content is downloaded in raw form with the entire staff. I have seen eyes roll and heads scratched. I imagine and later confirm what the team is thinking. It includes things like, “What are we supposed to do with this? How can we possibly get this done with everything else going on? We still haven’t completed the initiatives from the last download. And really, what’s in it for me to do all this extra stuff; just more work?
I appreciate the honesty and realize that we will sabotage the chance of the great benefits some of these ideas offer if we don’t address this properly.
Here are ten ways you can bring ideas to the table and gain cheers rather than jeers.
1. Take great notes and source the expert so you can follow up with any details you may have missed. Ideally, this is done digitally to make it easy to review, revise and share with the appropriate person/people at the appropriate time.
2. Think about how the idea, strategy, system or gadget fits within the vision of your practice.Every great idea is not a fit for every practice. Consider your target market, your goals, and mission. Then, consider how this takes you from where you are to where you envision going with your practice. If it doesn’t fit, let go of it.
3. Process the idea so it can fit into your world.If this idea is presented from another industry, another type of environment, another size practice or a whole different platform, consider how it might work before sharing it (unless you have an open brainstorm session).
4. Communicate one-on-one first.Select one person from your organization whom you believe would champion the idea. Get their input. Permit them to poke holes in the idea so you can work through it before bringing it to the entire team.
5. Do some initial planning. If you believe you have another champion for the idea, do some planning together. Discuss it with your Project Manager. Think about how it fits with other things going on. Will it save time, money or stress? Does it make sense to prioritize it or should it wait until your next planning meeting?
6. Consider when it would be received best by the team. If you have a big idea and only 15 minutes to communicate it before leaving on a two-week vacation, it might feel as though you have just thrown something over the wall, leaving the rest of your team with their eyes glazed. If you want to serve this as an appetizer, make sure they know the difference between something you are considering and something you are expecting the rest of the team to rally around and have something accomplished by the time you get back.
7. Clearly assign the tasks that need to be done to implement the plan. Some things you can just get done. If it’s a ten-minute task, it’s not worth project planning out. However, if it will take a hundred hours to implement, you need a plan for sure!
8. Gain buy-in. You need to know where everyone stands on the project. Will they ignore it? If you’re not the leader in your organization, you need to get buy-in from them first. They can lend their authority to you. Even if you are the leader, you still need buy-in. Some CEOs scratch their heads when they give what seems like a directive to their team. But to the team, it’s clear as mud, and they are just not sure what’s being asked of them.
Beyond clarity, there’s capacity. If this an overtime directive, it needs to be clear whether it requires a reprioritization of tasks or if it's just something that would be nice if it could be fit into the regular schedule.
9. Providing a why and a reward may be appropriate. Understanding whether this is a part of the norm for each participant or a herculean leap for them to make and how this impacts the success of the practice and their role can make a difference. Drawing a line between the cost and benefit which may include any variety of things such as, recognition, additional staffing, possible promotion or raise, or even a little appreciation.
10. Celebrate progress and completion. Create expected milestones and acknowledge achievement. Recognize the effort and accomplishment.
We want to share ideas that improve your success. Don’t let how you communicate or process the very best ideas stand in the way of getting them done.
Creating alignment between mission, vision, values, objectives, and goals is of high importance to us. Being sure that your staffing, training, culture, and strategies will take you where you want to go is something that is always on our minds at Jambalaya Group. We want to help you design and execute great ideas for growth, streamlining your tasks, and enjoy your successes. Doing it in a way that brings a smile to everyone on the team makes it so much easier.
Wherever the idea comes from, whoever brings it to the table, we are here to help you with processing it thoughtfully and seamlessly.
Bernie DeLaRosa, CFP®, ChFC® CRPC®, CLU®, APMA®, CASL®, BFA™
Managing Business Consultant
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