Inclusion of diverse marketing ideas starts early in the process when we brainstorm – avoid the groupthink, include the right people and listen…
Brainstorming is a great concept that occasionally becomes twisted when a few members of your strategy sessions, and/or one particular outlook, dominate the conversation and assert that their ideas are the only ones worthy of discussion. Often this comes from the HiPPO, you know, the Highest Paid Person in the Office, which as a Rockstar CMO could be you… and to be fair, it’s easy for the leader to fall into this role.
But that’s not real brainstorming.
It’s more like a lecture, where the audience is expected to listen in silence, and maybe share a sentence or two of their own thoughts at the end. Kind of what we are seeing from the current US Administration… groupthink with no room for any other perspective. Anything that diverts from the pre-stated position becomes anathema.
Think about the last time you tried to share what you thought was a good idea, advice, or simply some knowledge you have gained over the years, with your teenage child. Remember how quickly they cut you off, the disdain they showed for what you had to say, and the way they made you feel totally unvalued. That is basically how the majority of management makes most employees feel when it comes to new ideas… AND brainstorming solutions and/or new paths.
That doesn’t cut it.
The entire point of brainstorming is to gather ideas from diverse sources, discuss them, and let the best ideas rise to the top. You can only do that if the floor is truly open to everyone, and every member of the meeting is encouraged to share their thoughts. Your employees have a ton of insights, both front-line and personal, that can help shape your strategies, but only if you’re willing to hear what they have to say.
The entire point of brainstorming is to gather ideas from diverse sources, discuss them, and let the best ideas rise to the top. You can only do that if the floor is truly open to everyone, and every member of the meeting is encouraged to share their thoughts and openly pay attention to the ideas of others.
How do you encourage people to speak up?
Start by listening and taking their ideas seriously. Don’t dismiss new ideas out of hand, and don’t try to corral everyone in the brainstorming session into focusing on the same few ideas, from the same few people.
A good brainstorming session, AND culture in general, is one where everyone gets a chance to speak, and nobody feels like their contributions are being ignored.
You recruit, train, and pay these people… start benefitting from all they have to offer.
Empower your employees and they will power your brand!
As usual you provide bright actionable tips, Ted. Another complementary way to improve brainstorming is adopting a mutuality mindset and inspiring others to do so as well. That’s where we seek sweet spots of mutual interest in conversations with others and it can spur us to attract diverse allies. Then we can collectively see more sides of a business or other kind of situation and thus make smarter decisions faster about a potential problem or opportunity. Such experiences draw us closer and more aware of our complementary talents.
Then we naturally get more specific, thus reducing chance of being misunderstood and our messages become more credible and memorable. That’s why I offered 60 actionable tips in my book Mutuality Matter ~ cordially Kare Anderson
Thank you so much Kare for the kind words, and more importantly for your always incredibly valuable input. A mutuality mindset is worthwhile here and in so many other ways, especially relationship building. Appreciate you Kare.