This article first appeared on August 31, 2011.
It’s the phrase that should be music to the ears of even the toughest taskmaster: “Boss, I’ve got a great idea for…”
I love it when I hear this. It means that my employees are actively thinking about ways to grow the business and are acting like more than just employees. The more ideas, the happier I feel.
But this leads to another problem: How do we know which ideas are worth following up?
One method I use could best be described as self selection. After a quick screening of the idea by me or one of my leaders, I throw the challenge down to the employee by putting the onus on the employee to see they can turn their idea into reality.
Regardless of the role or experience of the employee, they get the chance to take their idea through the company. They call the meetings to discuss it. They apply for the budget required to test it. They organise production time to make samples.
As the CEO, you need to make sure they get all the support necessary from within your business – especially your own very public support.
But this is a great way to nurture great ideas and spot future leaders of your business.