New ideas, products and/or services can be difficult for many people to grasp if they are not part of the creation process. Too often when a boss, business development group or sales team comes up with the “new big money-maker” idea, others become fearful. Instead of creating a thought-out blueprint and return on investment on paper, they simply attempt to wing it! Worse, they attempt to control every aspect of the process as issues arise. Steamrolling others and not enrolling them into the process usually creates disastrous results. Employees and customers become fearful. Want to turn this loose/loose scenerio around? Honor their fears for positive outcomes.
It’s OK. Create an environment of innovation where mistakes happen and everyone learns from them. An environment where “What if’s….” are welcomed. Implement according to a well-designed, focused and simple blueprint. It keeps everyone on the same page. Allow others the opportunities to voice ideas or concerns, and explore them without repercussions. This sort of transparency prevents covert squashing!
Stay focused. Don’t make changes to simply change or falsely make others happy. Stop allowing the newest “bright shining object” to deter the process. Detours usually cost money and valuable time while wreaking havoc.
Come Down to Reality. When the team is concerned about an outcome, take time to listen. It’s usually based upon sad experience of past errors in poorly executed projects. Nay-sayers do quietly sabotage efforts, often due to their fear of the unknown or mistaken assumptions (e.g., changes in job duties, unwillingness to learn new systems, poor relationship with project leader or team members, etc.) Share the economic and market impact of the new service or product constantly. Repetition is the key to quell fears. Don’t make promises about big bonuses or payouts without the ability to follow through.
Keep it simple. Share the plan and idea in small bite-size pieces. Start with very simple questions to hook others’ interest, get them thinking and help get them on the same page. For example, asking a broad question can be a deterrent, i.e. “How can this company save a million dollars?” Instead, ask simpler engaging questions, such as “What is one idea you could implement today to save money?”
©Jeannette L. Seibly, 2012