Sourcing Genius Ideas From Your Employees
I participated in a meeting this week, which was the inspiration of advertising genius, Michael Raz of Raz-Ads (we partner with him on promotions and campaigns that involve traditional mediums like radio, tv, etc.). Michael has decades of experience helping businesses grow, including the Register Guard where he was an Advertising Manager for a couple decades.
Our mutual client was looking to Michael for ideas on growth in a specific area and Michael's solution was to tap in to the genius of the employees...asking them for their ideas and giving them a voice in the process.
The client was asked to bring in as many employees as possible for an hour lunch meeting. Michael brought a giant post it board for writing down ideas, and a package of green dots. Sophisticated, right? Sometimes simple is so much better.
He asked the employees to give us their ideas for this area of specific growth. Any idea counted (no bad ideas), one at a time, and the only other rule was to stay positive.
Over the course of 1/2 hour, all the employees...most of them seasoned veterans not only in the industry, but at this particular business, provided pages and pages of ideas. Huge post it note pages adorned the restaurant walls and related to everything from customer service to the way they advertise, incentive programs to small details most people wouldn't think about (certainly not me).
For the last 15 minutes, each employee was given ten green dots. They were asked to put them next to the ideas they liked best. They could put all ten dots next to one idea or spread them out. This resulted in not only lots of great ideas, but some that everyone could get behind.
I wanted to write about this because it emphasizes what we love to say...your employees are the voice and face and personality of your business. Involving them in marketing discussions, training them on your messaging, asking them to be involved in social media, featuring them on your blog/website and in social media...all of these and many more help not only to boost morale but allow your customers the opportunity to really develop a relationship with your organization. After all, we most often buy from people, not companies.
A couple of observations:
- Make sure your goal is specific or you'll have ideas that don't relate well, and help keep everyone on topic...on that subject.
- Feed them while they are thinking. They tend to be more positive. Unlike bears.
- Follow up. Let them know what you are using and what you aren't.
- Do it consistently, not just once.
- Try to do at least one meeting without management present. Sometimes this aids in communication flow. A good outside consultant (like Michael) can facilitate and keep specific voices confidential. It's good to know!
Thanks, Raz, for a great time. :) One of my ideas received a few green dots! Ha.