When it comes to leadership, it’s not just a top down process. The truth is, for most companies and nonprofits, the best ideas come up from the bottom. But sadly, most leaders are ignoring their own people. Research has found that with most companies in America, the average employee’s ideas are only implemented once every 5 or 6 years.
But the most successful companies encourage ideas from everyone – including the guys on the loading dock. Some companies use the old style “suggestion box” but much better methods are meetings where employees are really listened to, or leaders who “walk through the factory” and really know their employees, understand their concerns, and listen to ideas. I don’t recommend you let it degrade to “idea fests” where everyone is tossing out wacky ideas and chaos reigns. But you can set up structured times for listening that will really give your organization a creative shot in the arm.
The point to remember is that you never know where the idea that will save your organization will come from, so start listening to everyone – not just the people at the top.