big idea

Vision Quest: Engaging Your Team in a Big Idea

“How can I get my team to engage in implementing a new idea?”

One of my clients asked that question in frustration recently. He had identified a concept that had revenue-generating, scalable potential, but his excitement wasn’t matched by his team.

They pointed out the reasons why his idea wouldn’t work: the company would need a new hire; the idea would change current workflow and processes. My client’s enthusiasm deflated like an after-party balloon.

As the business leader, you are responsible for setting you company’s vision. It’s also up to you to help your team to act on big ideas.

Here are three ways to get an efficiency-focused team on board.

Pivot the Discussion

When your team responds to a big idea with objections, pivot the discussion.

Pivoting can be as simple as saying, “This isn’t a conversation about why this can’t be done. So let’s talk about how we could do this.”

When your operations-minded team reverts to identifying obstacles, refocus them on how to work with company strengths and around the challenges.

Frame the Possibilities

Words matter. Like shifting the discussion from “why” to “how,” speaking in terms of “could” has a powerful impact.

Frame the possibilities by asking, “How could we take the first steps toward implementing this idea?” After my client modeled this phrasing a few times, his team began to respond, “We could …”

Within 30 minutes, the team had identified initial steps, timeframes and ownership for specific action steps.

Revisit and Revise Action Steps

The enthusiasm and good intentions of the initial discussion can dissipate when action steps don’t get completed. Often, the reason is that too many undefined predecessor tasks are embedded in the activity.

For example, an action step such as “develop a pricing model” might be too big to accomplish before the next team conversation. An embedded predecessor task such as, “outline our current pricing by product and customer segment” is doable and can lead to discussions that leverage the collective expertise on the team.

The willingness to focus on big ideas is one of the most essential attributes that you can develop in your team – and one of the greatest assets of your business.