The REAL reasons your team don’t come up with more fresh ideas

 Profile image of Corine Hines From Spring Leadership

Corine Hines

Back in 2010, when I was just starting my coaching journey, I began seeing how powerful the process was for individuals. I’ve worked with all types of leaders and managers, from underrated heads of finance and recently recruited high potentials, to directors that were heading for burn out.  Watching them grow, develop better habits and improve their relationships, was incredible. But I was itching to have more impact on the wider business.

Personal transformations are amazing – but I knew that high performing teams aren’t created because one person transforms themselves.

Over the years we’ve developed an approach that helps individuals and teams make huge leaps forward – transformations that set them up for future success, which make a significant difference to them personally and to the bottom line.

Our techniques change businesses for the better. And it’s an absolute privilege to be involved.

I bet some of the best initiatives in your business have your fingerprints all over them, don’t they? But you want others to put their ideas forward.

Why isn’t it happening the way you’d hoped?

Here are 3 reasons your team might not be coming up with fresh ideas (and things you can do instead).

You keep adding your two-penneths
Hands up if you always give the benefit of your experience.
The problem is the quality of the idea may go up five percent, but the commitment to its execution goes down by fifty percent. Why? Because it’s no longer their idea.

David Ulrich* says, “Effectiveness of execution is a function of two things: the quality of the idea times one’s commitment to make it work.” So, when we get wrapped up in improving the quality a little bit, we damage the commitment a lot.

Try saying “That’s a great idea. What do you need to move it forward?”

You regularly start sentences with: No, Yes but, or However
Do you call it analytically minded? I promise you, everyone else hears it as stifling negativity.
Start by asking your team to draw your attention to occasions when you do it.
If it’s happening, try (occasionally) replacing yes, but with yes, and – then see what happens.

Them: “We need to target profitability as well as sales.”
You: “Yes, AND we need to maintain our quality KPIs.”

Watch how a slight shift in language gets a different reaction.

Idea generation is always led by your thoughts
How often are you pushing the team to brainstorm ideas?

Whenever I’m working with a team or leader to think creatively, I get them to throw ideas out and I write them up.

Now I’m mostly remote, I do a screen share and create a mind map, but you don’t have to get fancy – using Word is fine. Encourage your team to brainstorm ideas while you type, and keep saying things like ‘anything else?’ and ‘imagine budget wasn’t a problem’ and leave silence.

I guarantee** they will come up with something that a simple discussion might have missed.

I’m looking forward to hearing how it goes. And get in touch if you want to talk about more ways to help your team smash it.


*Dave Ulrich was named the most influential thinker in HR of the decade by HR magazine
**If your team don’t come up with anything new, I’ll buy you all Cream Eggs. I’m that confident.