Formalize Decision-making for New Ideas
New ideas are never a bad thing. In fact, they are proof that your employees care about the business and are eager to improve it. As a leader, the last thing you want to do is communicate that you’re not interested in fresh ideas because it will stifle employee engagement and innovation. So send the message that you welcome new ideas by giving your organization a formal method for handling them. Implement a decision-making process for suggesting new ideas, something that includes how they get submitted, reviewed, and approved or rejected.
Here are three questions you should ask when considering new ideas:
Does it align to core strategies? Nothing will confuse employees faster than going off on a tangent to implement an idea that doesn’t align to the direction of the company. As I have written about many times, employee engagement and alignment to your strategies is a powerful accelerant to growth. As a leader your job is to kill more good ideas because of their potential to take you off course. Many ideas will make money in the short-term, but that doesn’t mean you should implement them at the cost of causing business disruption.
Do we have the right resources? I can’t overemphasize the importance of understanding if you have the right resources to implement an idea. At MAP, we see initiatives fail because the business doesn’t have the right people with the right experience and skills to make it happen. Careful analysis of your internal capabilities to execute the new idea should be conducted. When you fail to understand your capabilities it can cause implementation failure.
Will it take our focus off other initiatives? Implementing new ideas takes energy and focus. It is important to understand how a new initiative can rob resources from your current strategies. At MAP, we have seen this situation occur with our clients when they make acquisitions. Their business is humming along with great performance and their optimism fuels the decision to make an acquisition. The integration of the new line of business drains manpower, causes disruption and chaos ensues. Not only does the acquisition not go well, but the base business also suffers because of this disputation. Understanding the true impact and potential for disruption is an important consideration before moving forward with a new idea.
How does your company encourage new ideas from employees?