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Generate creativity in your employees January 23, 2008

Posted by rickbron in Creativity, Management Principle, Uncategorized.

p5130012.jpg   Want innovative solutions that are implemented by enthusiastic employees? The Big Dogz know how to get these solutions. They use what I call the principle of creativity. Here it is:

 Deliver problems down, solutions up. 

What typically happens is that the leader defines a problem to the employees, and then suggests a solution. It goes like this “Here is a problem we need to solve; here is what I think we should do about it.” Usually this is followed by “What do you think we should do?” Of course the result is that everyone agrees with the solution proposed by the leader. Why not agree? 

It is obvious this is the solution preferred by the leader and if we do what the leader says we have no accountability. If this solution fails — well, it was the leader’s idea to begin with; don’t blame us. If this solution works — well, we worked hard to make it happen; give us the credit. This situation is a no risk proposition for your employees. And besides, their enthusiasm for the idea is low because it is not theirs. 

What the Big Dogz do is present the problem to the employees without a solution. They ask “How do you think we can solve this problem?” The Big Dogz will do this even when they know the optimum solution. The Big Dogz know that when the employees come up with a solution, they own it!

Their personal commitment will be high and if they have an ineffective solution, they will quickly modify it to be effective. People do this correction because they want to successful. It is no longer your problem, but their problem. 

Effective leaders monitor the solutions to problems. They warn employees when they are making dangerous moves. They encourage creativity and risk taking by supporting employee solutions. Sometimes you as the leader do not get a choice of solutions.

You are given a problem and a solution. When this happens, present the problem, and then let your people know you have been given a solution. Then ask “What can we do to make sure this solution will work?”  

The Big Dogz know that by always giving their people a voice in the solution, the people will be engaged and committed to the solution. Try applying this principle over the next thirty days to see if you can be one of the Big Dogz. 



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