How the Best Teams Keep Good Ideas Alive - Deepstash
How the Best Teams Keep Good Ideas Alive

How the Best Teams Keep Good Ideas Alive

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How the Best Teams Keep Good Ideas Alive

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Many leaders feel stuck

Many leaders know that employee perspectives are vital for retention and innovation, but they struggle to create a culture where employees can voice their ideas and see them through.

There are several tactics leaders and their teams can use to ensure good ideas are implemented.

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Good intentions are not enough when it comes to implementing employees' ideas. People are encouraged to share ideas, but leaders often find many reasons for rejecting them. Research shows that asking people to share ideas that don't go anywhere can discourage employees and even cause them to quit.

Lower-power team members can have their voiced ideas reach implementation with the help of a collective, social process named voice cultivation.

Five tactics can resuscitate initially rejected ideas: Amplifying, developing, legitimizing, exemplifying and issue-raising.

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Amplifying

Publicly repeating someone else's good idea can help push an idea forward. This is particularly true for those trying to influence authority figures.

For example, a nurse shared how overwhelmed she was with clinic calls that limited her in-clinic nursing work. The doctor thanked her for her proposed strategies but rejected her idea because the problem was too big and "couldn't be fixed." The idea lingered and other team members kept bringing up the nurses' idea. Eventually, they started experimenting with different strategies.

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Developing

Sometimes giving an idea the benefit of the doubt is enough. Asking clarifying questions can help team members and others better understand the ideas.

The difficulties and opportunities posed by an idea that stands out to some team members may be invisible to others. Developing one another’s ideas helps make them understandable across the team.

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Vouching for ideas you believe is essential for success.

Team members can keep ideas alive by sharing examples of a similar personal experience, sharing how a similar idea worked at a competitor, or by describing how the idea could be beneficial to their organisation.

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An idea that was previously rejected can be revived by showing preliminary evidence that the idea is feasible and important.

If you're lower in the organisational hierarchy, take the initiative to demonstrate in small ways how an idea can work in practice or collect data that can prompt discussions to keep an idea alive.

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Issue-raising

Supporting an idea does not mean unconditional support. Publicly mentioning the weaknesses associated with an idea can also keep it alive by giving allies the chance to openly create solutions and address concerns directly.

Issue-raising is about acknowledging that an idea might take time and work to find its footing.

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To ensure employees' good ideas get a better chance at implementation, leaders can introduce voice cultivation to their teams.

  • Set the tone so that team members can build each other up.
  • Promote teamwork rather than competition by rewarding team members when they develop other's good ideas.
  • Provide practical behaviours the team can engage in
  • Create accountability structures outside of the leaders’ good intentions.
  • Give meaning to critical issues that others may lack the language to articulate.
  • Voice cultivating tactics are most powerful when employees know why an idea was initially rejected.

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