Managers Need To Stay Receptive to New Ideas

In order to stay successful all businesses continually need a steady stream of new ideas for techniques and product applications. As a manager it is important that you are receptive to all new ideas and suggestions as you never know when or where the next great business idea will come from. The people around you will have lots of good ideas, but most of these will die before or at their genesis. If you want to make use of this gold mine lying under your very nose, you should heed the following five rules:

1. Start with the positive expectation that most people have ideas, or at least the beginnings of ideas, lying dormant in their minds. Don’t just expect good ideas to come from one source, such as your fellow managers or large customers. Even the most junior employee in your team or one of your customer’s staff can give you the tip of the year - you just need to be receptive to them!

2. Managers should regularly encourage their people to use their problem solving skills to come up with ideas to solve current issues. Ask the people you talk to for their ideas on a problem: ‘How would you solve...?’ or ‘How do you do...?’ Asking questions shows you value the ideas they have and so encourages them to give you more suggestions.

3. Never reject a suggestion straight away - whoever it might come from or however unlikely it sounds. Take the ideas in and let them mature in your mind. Some ideas are like flower buds and will take some time to open.

4. If at first an idea or suggestion seems to be impracticable, start by concentrating your efforts on improving the new idea, rather than spending time on trying to prove its uselessness. Resist the conceited temptation that some managers take of rejecting ideas out of hand simply because they personally did not think of them.

5. Managers should take notes when somebody explains their ideas to them. This technique will not only help you to understand the idea better and it is also the best recognition you can give to the idea giver, showing that management takes their suggestions seriously. Your receptiveness will also encourage the other person to develop their problem solving skills further and so come up with more fresh ideas.