How many times have you been presented with a plan of action and knew from the start that it was doomed to failure? How many times have you been part of a planning team and, midway through the process, a person from outside the group brings something up that completely changes the way it needs to be done or sabotaged the entire process because they weren’t brought in at the beginning?
We’ve all been there. We’ve either not thought of a key aspect of a project or thought we could get away with not including a certain group because we thought/knew they would be detractors. When those people get brought in, or even worse, when they have to implement a solution that didn’t have their input and expertise, a lot of wasted time, energy, and money can take place.
These roadblocks to alignment are more to do with human ego and organizational culture than anything.
When an organization isn’t well-aligned to mission and vision, and doesn’t include processes to value ideas, capabilities and needs, problems ensue. Your ideas and plans don’t get valued because you didn’t bother to value theirs. You dismissed and minimized their roles (or didn’t realize they had value) and made decisions that impacted them. Regardless of whether your idea was right, you will have damaged bonds that will be hard to repair.
How can you get more buy-in for your ideas and those of the organization?
- Establish the expectation for new idea generation at all levels. This is the first, and most critical aspect of valuing employee ideas.
- Set up processes where you can review ideas and hold your leadership accountable for soliciting ideas.
- Make certain project plans that come forth have all relevant parties involved in the effort as soon as possible.
Employing an Orgametrics® Assessment will help identify areas that do a good job of valuing ideas and which ones could use some support. Alignment plans can be developed on a department level, across a group of related departments and/or your entire organization. Then, the intentional and consistent work can be done to improve, align and become more effective as an organization.
The organization or department could set up a formal, if even rudimentary, process to gather and process ideas. We talk about issues around organizational creativity and addressing it in this blog post.
Make Creative Idea Processes a Continuous Learning Exercise
A review process could be created for a sampling of projects to identify issues and strengths in how it was handled immediately upon conclusion, as well as after various intervals, in order to identify areas for improvement. This may ruffle some feathers because it may identify how people didn’t meet the bar on leadership. However, if things are done right, those development opportunities will take care of future issues and those conversations will be seen as constructive ways to keep the organization aligned.
Your employees are closer to everything than you are – customers, issues, opportunities, risks, etc. If there isn’t a method to gather those ideas and comments and honestly react to them, you have only to look in the mirror as to why your organization is stagnating.