Wednesday 30 November 2011

Encourage cross department suggestions/initiatives

In companies, due to naturally occurring internal competition, there is many barriers to cross department/field suggestions and initiatives.  Sometimes an outside view can be advantageous.  The view from somebody with some insight but don’t work with it normally.  Why go to an outside consultant when there is probably many within your own organisation that has ideas on the team but no way of exploring them.
Setup an internal discussion forum where ideas can flow across natural divisions.  In this day of the web there is no need of having a meeting about it where the ones that likes to hear their own voice rather than have something useful to say is most likely to rule the roost.  Sometimes its the quiet thinker that has the deepest thoughts. 
Filter and let somebody from the department, who’s responsibility the field is, to spend a little bit of time now and then to mull over the suggestions, and argue against them / state why they are impractical if needed.  It will help answer the question of why don’t we do thins this way or that way and drive the whole organisation towards the stated goal implying a great sense of understanding and inclusiveness. 
After all what is the cost of lending an ear to new ideas, except for a little time, and the gains could be significant.

This could be especially valuable in a customer facing organisation, or one that wants to be customer friendly.  The flow of info from the customer to your business do not always come through the planned channels in this area of online social networking.  Much can be gathered via sites like twitter, facebook and google+  Many companies “can’t afford” to monitor these sites, or they who do monitor are not in the right circles.  You have a whole workforce that use these media in their private time tough.  Utilize this resource.

This approach does require that the management of the company sees the employees as a resource and not just as a cost to be minimised.  There is many talented people out there that given the right opportunity could shine even if unexpectedly.   The first thought when finding an employee not thriving in their current position should be to  see if they could be a better fit somewhere else now when the organisation has learned their strengths (and weaknesses).

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