The traditional “top-down” business model in which executives or ownership make all the decisions and those on the organization’s lower rungs implement them is dead.
Today, for businesses to succeed they need innovative, fresh, new ideas. No matter how creative your upper-level management is, you’re going to need to depend on other people. You’re going to need to collaborate.
An “Open Ideas” Policy
The people who know best about how to improve the products or services your business offers typically are the ones on the front lines. It’s critical that ideas be harvested from line-level employees.
They are the ones dealing directly with customers, clients, vendors, and other people important to your business. So they are the ones most likely to know the best ways to improve your business, its operations, its products, or its services.
Innovative organizations need a constant flow of new ideas. Implementing an “open ideas” policy in which any employee is empowered to offer suggestions on ways the business could improve without fear of reprisal or embarrassment is key.
Your workers will be less likely to keep their great ideas to themselves if you offer to reward or recognize them for their contribution to your business’s success.
Some companies have implemented a “Big Ideas” program in which any employee can make recommendations on ways to improve products, services, or anything having to do with the way the organization is run.
Under this type of program, if the employee’s “Big Idea” is implemented and results in an increase in profits, a reduction in expenses, or more efficiencies, they can share in the benefits in the form of a bonus. Or they might simply be recognized publicly for their contribution to the company’s success.
In either case, soliciting ideas from every member of the team then rewarding and/or recognizing their contribution is one of the most effective forms of collaboration.