Wildly Important Goals (WIG’s) as defined by the Franklin Covey
methodology, are the goals that an individual or team develops that simply must
be accomplished or everything else does not really matter. They are the goals that will help your firm
climb to the next level of success. Identifying the WIG’s that will create an
environment that is better, faster, cheaper and easier is the key to true
positive change. The key to identifying WIG’s
is for the leaders in the firm to get out of the way and allow your team to
identify and develop these initiatives.
For years, firm leaders have shared their frustration in this
endeavor. The frustration often is
communicated in a short sentence, "I ask everyone to share their ideas but I
get NO response, so I have to do this myself”.
That statement tells me that their heart is in the right place, but
their process is broken.
In this article, we will concentrate on the "how” of getting your
team to share their ideas to make the initiatives in the firm better, faster,
cheaper and easier. The goal is to make
your team comfortable about suggesting new and innovative ideas without the fear
of being laughed at or ignored.
proper tone means creating an environment that embraces open discussion about
new ways of implementing both current and futuristic initiatives. This
tone starts at the top level of the organization. When you think about your firm leaders, are
they excited to communicate with all levels of the team and engage in open and
honest feedback about what is working and not working? Are all levels of the firm asked for their
opinion when determining strategies for the strategic plan or are only the
owners and sometimes managers being given time on the agenda? Think deeply about what your leadership tone
is saying about your openness to new ideas, as this is the most common
deterrent to receiving tremendous ideas from your team. Your new mantra should be "new
and different ideas are welcome and expected from everyone in the firm”. If you
are not sure what your tone is, ask your employees by initiating an upward
feedback survey and ask questions around communication, openness, trust and
leadership. You may find that while your
leaders’ hearts are in the right place, your actual tone that is being
perceived by the team is quite different. When it comes to gathering ideas from
people, perception is reality.
Communication is Key
As you read the
word communication, your eyes may have already rolled and your mind is already
buzzing with "good grief we have meetings by the minute and a conversation
every day, communication is NOT a problem for us”. This may be true, but those meetings only
mean that you are talking about current daily initiatives, not about new ideas
that will take the firm to the next level.
Many firms believe that by placing a suggestion box in the break room
and then telling their team to fill out the form and you will review it will
make new ideas just flow through the system.
Trust me when I say that most firms that try this approach get more
cobwebs out of the box than actual suggestions.
The process that you set up and the actual excitement in the message
needs to happen 1) when you announce the initiative, 2) when you have ideas
flowing and 3) when an idea is actually implemented. Communication is not just about great ideas
– it is about the number of ideas produced.
Good ideas produce spectacular ideas, so the more that are flowing, the
better the ideas get.
Reward and Recognize the Individual
When you see the
word reward – the implication is "cash”.
Let’s face it, cash is certainly one motivator but it is not the only
motivator. As you build out the firm’s
processes for idea generation remember that reward and recognition are
important to overall adoption and motivation.
Consider a tiered approach:
Level 1: Submit an idea – receive a certificate, recognition at a
staff meeting, or employee’s name on the firm’s electronic bulletin board.
Idea is chosen for consideration -
cash award, traveling trophy, or a gift certificate.
Idea turns into a firm project for implementation - an additional day off or a larger cash
most important part of the program is creating excitement, fun and ultimately
tremendous ideas that will make the firm better. Leaders of the firm will be pleased with the
results if they encourage the team to speak up and be a part of the ongoing
growth and development of the firm through idea generation.
Your team might
not come up with anything off the charts in the first few months, but remember
that the more ideas that you can start moving through the process the more
likely you will be to find one or two that are truly revolutionary!