How to Create Smart Organizations

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win one of twenty-five copies of, “The Idea-Driven Organization,” by Alan Robinson and Dean Schroeder.

Bureaucracy, fear, lethargy, lousy leaders, and antiquated systems make organizations dumb.

Dumb organizations are filled with smart people.

stifled ideas

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When was the last time one of your team members offered an unrequested idea?

Lousy leaders don’t want ideas because ideas feel distracting, disruptive, and inefficient.

Organizations that stifle ideas grow dumber and dumber.

Death to ideas:

Someone makes a suggestion and you say, “That’s a good idea.” But, that’s the end of it. How many more suggestions will that person make?

Without follow through, ideas stop flowing.

Don’t congratulate yourself when you succeed in shutting down idea-givers. You just chipped away at your future.

Ignore their ideas and they’ll stop offering ideas.

6 dangers of idea-killing leadership:

  1. Lower status. Every idea you kill makes others respect you less and fear you more.
  2. Distance between management and employees.
  3. Solidifying the status quo.
  4. Sending the message that you don’t care.
  5. Telling workers they don’t matter.
  6. Dumb organizations.

Suggestion boxes are stupid ideas. If you have one, destroy it.

If it’s difficult to identify and implement ideas in your organization, your organization grows dumber as the moments pass.

Idea systems:

Honor ideas by developing idea systems.

  1. The people closest to the work know more about the work than you. 80% of ideas come from front-line people who have dirty hands.
  2. A “make no waves” culture stinks of bureaucracy and decay.
  3. Establish an idea meeting for teams or departments where ideas are discussed and implementation actions are decided.
  4. Hang an idea board where teams collect and process ideas. Visibility informs, empowers, and creates accountability.

What would happen in your organization if you began a conversation about generating, capturing, and implementing ideas? Would that conversation die on the vine?

Smart organizations love, nurture, and implement ideas.

Why don’t organizations aggressively pursue ideas?

What does your organization do to invite, capture, evaluate, and implement ideas?

Learn more by reading: “The Idea-Driven Organization.”