“If you want to create a growth culture, you have to nurture people and not make them fight so … hard to get any idea through the door.”
Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE
Feedback from employees of companies suggest that they are very willing and often eager to share their ideas and suggestions on how to help you improve your business.
The challenges to overcome as you nurture this process include:
1- Helping them understand the process by which your business looks a problems and frustrations and seeks system solutions. You do have a process don’t you? This process means that we are looking at the situation from many angles. The employee needs to know that they are appreciated for bring the problem or idea forward and that sometimes more eyes, a fresh look, will produce a better result. In other words, we see the world through our own perceptions and sometimes we don’t see all the extenuating factors. So as much as their idea maybe a very good one, the process requires that we look at every problem from a whole business perspective.
2- The owner or manager MUST take some kind of action to resolve the frustration. One of the biggest complaint employees have about owners and managers, they don’t do anything to correct the problems.
To you owners, the bottom line is that you have your agenda and the employees have their agenda. Most often they are not the same. And since you are in charge, who’s agenda are you going to follow. Yours of course.
So you listen and thank them and then most often go about solving your frustrations and problems. At some point of along the way the employees says to themselves, “I am just wasting my breathe, nothing is ever going to change.” Ultimately, they stop caring and you wonder why your employees don’t care about the business like you do.
3- So lets pretend that you’ve heard this message and decide you are going to systematically respond to your employees suggestions. The next step is that once you’ve done something tangible to correct the frustration, you must report back to the employee in some form or another, “Here is what we did to resolve YOUR frustration.”
Now you’re creating an environment to encourage you employees involvement in the innovation and systemization process.