We place huge constraints on our own thinking. In 2009, I ran workshops to bring out ideas, big bold doable ideas and I ran these workshops with some of the largest brands in the world. The biggest challenge I faced when speaking to leaders was not to create good ideas or drilling down to the core of the idea, my biggest challenge was to encourage people to simply let go.
Humans are so conditioned to think in a certain way, that to let go of a life time of thinking to get to a place where anything is possible is tough. To ignite creative thinking, we must let go. Let go of judgement, of our own ideas and other people’s, we judge our own ideas before we state them, we judge others as soon as we hear them. Ideas need no logic, they need no truth, they certainly do not need budgets, philosophy, values or corporate policy.
Einstein valued ideas at 1%, we are not going to argue with Einstein. So I value them at 1%. Even still, we need ideas all the time. So when the voice in the back of your mind is telling you that your ideas could be bad, small, embarrassing… tell yourself your wrong and give it some wings. Simply put it out into the world.
Einstein followed up his 1% statement with the comment… 99% execution (See Bahance or the 99% for an amazing example of this). Once you have an idea, adopt a strict discipline to making it happen. Remove barriers, restrictions, when you have an idea, discuss it, share it, get in the game and make it happen. But first, let go.
What if the future health of your business is based around rewarding ideas and execution, rather than financial goals. Ideas are the foundation of any organisation, making them happen is the challenge. Reward that.
In 2010, I sat at a conference in Melbourne, a young man came on stage for a 1 minute key-note. He simply said:
“Last year, my company listened to me. I know they did because they thanked me for my ideas, not financially, they sent me a written letter to my home, written by the CEO, in hand writing, encouraging me to continue to share big ideas. They then invited me into the strategic planning meeting with the exec team, asked me to listen and state my thoughts when relevant. I told them, people wanted more personal notes sent home for the good things they are doing. They listened. That year, our CEO wrote 125 letters to people in our company. I am 19, Gen y , I want to be the CEO, so I will listen, learn and wait my turn. In the mean time, I know my ideas are being heard. Are yours?
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.” – Einstein.