In the business world, managers are taught that great ideas can come from anywhere. This is very true, but often they are not taught the skills to encourage and validate ideas and to resist the urge to shoot ideas down. We’ll look at how a high quality dry erase board and a positive attitude can create an environment that fosters the sharing of ideas in a smart and efficient way.
Greenlight: Everything is on the Table!
Managers and employees alike have probably all been involved in brainstorming sessions with various degrees of success. If the person running the meeting has already decided what to do, the others do not feel heard. Also, if no boundaries have been set against it, the other people in the room can immediately attack and effectively kill an idea.
That’s where the greenlight concept kicks in. The meeting leader, armed with a high quality dry erase board and marker explains that they want to hear all ideas, no matter how far out, and will write them all down for consideration. As people offer up their suggestions and start to see them in writing, getting positive feedback no matter how strange the notion may seem, the others in the room will be encouraged to pipe up. Chances are, you will end up with more ideas than you can possibly use.
As you look at your high quality dry erase board filled with ideas, you may feel a twinge of panic about eliminating some of the ideas. The remarkable thing about this process is that everyone feels engaged, and you can ask people to pick their top three ideas or eliminate the ones that they think won’t work. Often the people who have suggested the stranger ideas will eliminate them, but they are happy to have been heard.
The more engaged your team is with the brainstorming process, the more likely they are to provide your company’s next big idea!