Yesterday I was at a governmental affairs meeting in West Palm Beach. The discussion was about changes in the city; transportation, creating local city clusters, more biking opportunities etc.
Some of the people that were at the meeting were part of the original committee that were tasked with putting this together therefore were all behind the ideas brought forth. Others were hearing some of these ideas for the first time and frankly most were ‘poo-pooing’ them.
Why? Because to open yourself to new ideas, good or bad, is all a part of getting comfortable. Most people philosophically are not comfortable the first time they hear a new idea. Especially if the idea is a fairly radical one.
So what does this mean for you as a businessperson? Since the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing and expecting a different result” is a well-known dilemma, how to we do something new and different ourselves and more over how do we get our team on board with it?
Getting people to engage in ideas and conversation is one of the best ways to accomplish change. No one likes to be dictated to and told that something will change, though often we see that as our responsibility as leaders.
Using the brainstorming technique in presenting an issue and having the group give ideas and responses on how to fix it, without judgment, often will illicit new ideas as well as allow you to present yours successfully.
Some ideas to use in brainstorming;
- Relay the back-story. Why are you looking to make a change in a particular area? Talk about the reasons for the change, not how you want to do it just yet. When people understand the whys, they tend to be more open to the “hows”.
- Have patience. One of the things leader tend to do is to rush to the answer and not allow others to get there organically. As a leader we are often open quickly to new, innovative ideas. Others aren’t necessarily that way. Ask good questions to get them to open up, talk about solutions and learn the whys of their ideas as well as opposed to just pushing yours.
- Be open to another way besides your own. If you are open to other ideas and not stuck on your own, often you will have an even better one right in front of you. Be open to that and don’t assume your is always best.
- Summarize what you’ve heard and review so the team feels listened to. It is important to go into a brainstorming session with an idea as well as an open mind. Make sure everyone’s participation counts. Reviewing their ideas once they have all been given. You will have ore acceptance when they feel a part of a decision and not dictated one.
Remember human nature says most people don’t like change, at least at the beginning. Approach it properly and you will have a better chance of having agreement and not a mutiny.