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Brainstorming Motivation for Your Employees
Have you ever been to a business meeting that, though the intention was to come up with great ideas for the progression of the business, turned out to be a total flop? Attendees were bored, few ideas were shared, and everyone left the meeting feeling like it was a waste of time? Obviously, such events are a very little benefit to the development of your business, and there are few ways you can remedy that . . .
Meeting Time Equals Play Time
In other words, make the meeting fun. Don’t let everyone go wild of course. It needs to be organized play time, so to speak. For example, start things off with a game. As a suggestion, I read how one business owner asked his employees to write down something no one else knew about them prior to the meeting. When the meeting started, he passed out the responses and the employees had to guess who belonged to each, providing a little fun and humor to get things moving. Another employer brings tinker toys and tangram puzzles to get cognitive juices flowing. Not only do such ideas make the meeting more enjoyable, but they help your employees to relax and be more comfortable around each other and you.
Keep It Small & Structured
Your brainstorming groups probably shouldn’t be more than 5-7 people each. Any more than that and you will get employees who feel like they can sit back and watch everyone else participate. Additionally, don’t mix your higher level employees with lower level employees if they don’t co-mingle on a daily basis. Otherwise, the lower man on the totem pole may get shut out of the process (unintentionally, of course). Don’t be afraid to mix up departments, however, as doing so will bring more variety to the ideas that arise.
Let ‘Em At It
Once everyone is at easy and ready to participate, split them into groups (if you have enough employees to do so) and just let them start jotting down ideas. Clearly, you need to have some sort of objective in mind. But, whether that challenge be expanding your market, coming up with new advertising strategies, or ways to make your business run more smoothly, leave the table open for a broad range of suggestions for that particular challenge. Though regular note pads are always acceptable for listing their ideas, large flip charts and permanent markers tend to be much more fun.
Keep An Open Mind
Let your team know from the start that no suggestion is a bad suggestion. Open the floor to new, inventive and fun ideas. Don’t be afraid to let humor into the mix. And avoid criticism of any of the ideas your staff brings. In fact, it is best to briefly go over the ideas as a group and obtain a general feedback, rather than discuss each idea in detail. Collect the ideas at the end and ask your employees to keep them coming if they think of something else. And be sure to give them feedback on what ideas you decide to run with later.
• BusinessWeek.com: A Brainstorm Kit
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