More businesspeople should focus on coming up with
new ideas. We’re not talking about creating the next eBay here, but
rather ideas that can move the business forward or even just help keep
They might be ideas on better ways to do things, ideas on how to
expand the business or ideas about new products to launch. There are
different scopes of ideas, ranging from the trivial to the
transformational. For example, coming up with the idea of putting
programming called HBO on a satellite to beam movies down to millions
could be considered transformational. While most ideas do not transform
industries, they do keep the businesses in industries running.
Ideas on what kinds of people should be hired, how they should
be compensated and what kinds of benefits should be packaged can impact
many. However, no matter the size or the impact of an idea, it requires
time and a mindset to create it.
Some ideas require quiet time. This can mean closing your
office door and ignoring the phone and e-mail for a bit, which can be
challenging. It’s difficult to be creative when three people are
talking at you and your e-mail box is filling with pressing issues.
We know from our past research that there is little extra time
available to come up with ideas. Some might think that working away
from the office is the answer, since 61 percent of senior executives
and managers have increased the amount of time spent working out of the
office over the last three years. However, working away does not
necessarily mean getting away.
“With the increase in e-mail and voice mail volume (every message is a
project), managers oftentimes find themselves filled with more work,”
said one manager. “Whether you’re at home or work, there isn’t much
free time to enjoy time away.”
Said another: “Working away from the office allows for dedicated
moments of creativity and exploration.”
However, many businesspeople tend to get
caught up in the crisis of the moment and miss opportunities to come up
with new ideas. Since four-fifths of executives and managers have 90
minutes or less of personal time on a typical workday, there are two
The first is for individuals to carve more time from the working day to create and consider new ideas.
The second (and more practical) is to open the doors to new ideas from people throughout the organization.
No one person can have all the good ideas, but there can be
countless good and even great ideas that can come from throughout the
ranks if managers and executives encourage it.
So the next time you need an idea on how to make something at
work better, for a fresh perspective ask a few people you would not
normally ask to come up with something. Ask a colleague, a spouse or a
friend. You might be surprised at how creative a person can be.
As a colleague of mine used to say: A good idea doesn’t care
who has it. So if anyone has any good ideas, feel free to e-mail them
to me and we’ll share them.