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Ideas Can take You Off Track

I have been running this business for almost fourteen years now ... along the way there have been lots of lessons learned, and through this blog I occasionally share some of those.

Some lessons can be counter-intuitive, or complex in nature and finding a "cookie cutter" answer can be difficult.

One of those scenarios is around IDEAS ...

The good thing about ideas is that in some ways they are the lifeblood of an organization, they can fuel growth, help companies adapt to changing situations and differentiate from competition.

The bad thing about ideas is that they can cause you to lose focus. If you take your eye off the core business, or they cause a change to the core business with unintended consequences you have a problem. Also some people think they bring good ideas to the table, but really their value to the organization is in executing on the job they are supposed to be doing ... managing that disconnect an be delicate.

How do you handle this kind of dilemma?

1. You don't want to discourage ideas ... so be careful about demotivating employees who are willing to come forward with ideas.
2. You might want to actively encourage ideas for innovation from your staff ... but set very clear expectations around how the process works.\
3. It would not be unreasonable to reward people for their ideas ... perhaps something small for giving a credible idea and something more significant if it is implemented.
4. You need to ensure that everyone knows their core job is their most important priority.
5. One technique that can work with ideas considered to "have legs" is to pilot it in a controlled manner. This ensures the impact on the core business is minimal and any unforeseen consequences are contained.

It seems counter intuitive that ideas should be a problem, but this is an area that can be a bit of a minefield, so tread carefully!