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Guest Blog - Being Receptive to the Ideas of Others (Part II)

By Jon Galchik, Champion | November 2, 2016

Read Part I

We have all been to meetings where we reject the ideas of others. This behavior suppresses creativity. In an environment where we perceive a shortage of resources, we need to be receptive to the ideas of others. Thomas Keen, author of Creativity Exists in All of Us, an article published by the Association for Talent Development, suggests there are10 guidelines for creative thinking success. Those guidelines are as follows:

  1. More is Better - The more ideas we have, the better we will be. We need options!
  2. Defer Judgment - Be open-minded and do not stifle the options presented. The idea may not be yours, and it may not be perfect, but it is an idea. Do not be judgmental. Embrace the possibilities.
  3. Build, Do Not Destroy - Ideas are rarely presented in their final form. We may only see a glimpse of the concept at the time of presentation. Do not reject the idea because you do not understand it; build upon the notion, as you would appreciate the same treatment if the plan were yours.
  4. Stretch the Effort - Think way outside of the box! Do not limit yourself to conventional ideas. Assist in the creation of an atmosphere that is challenging, inspirational, and encouraging.
  5. Seek Many Combinations - We want many ideas so we can use many different combinations. An element of idea A may be perfectly suited for idea C or D. Our possible combinations increase with our number of ideas.
  6. Take a Risk - Do not set boundaries on your ideas or the notions presented by others. We have an obligation to operate within the limits of the laws and our policies, but beyond that, we should not be limiting ourselves. Keen suggests that boundaries create the "we can't do that syndrome." If what we are doing is legal, moral, and ethical, then why are we holding ourselves back? Do you remember Robyn's MAAP Blog post about the monkeys? We have to be willing to think outside of the box and allow someone to take the stairs without attacking them; we have to take a risk.
  7. Avoid Hidden Agendas - Hear everyone's ideas early in the process to avoid a hidden agenda.
  8. Be Deliberate with Your Choices and Decisions - Remain strong enough to stand by your choices and to see the project and decisions through the entire process.
  9. Let Free-Flowing Discussion Happen - General George S. Patton Jr. said, "Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." Do not get in the way of the discussion. People often talk themselves into solutions. Allow the discussion to take place, even if it is a difficult topic.
  10. Stay Focused - Do not embark on a trip to nowhere. Do not throw wrenches into the conversation or deviate from the original purpose. If the exploration of one idea identifies the need for investigation in another process, then make it a separate project. Do not stray from and/or lose sight of the original purpose.

Remember, Franci Rogers asserts that we associate success and failure with resource availability. If a resource presents an idea, be open to the notion. Success is about innovation of effort and resourcefulness. Georg Simmel, a German Sociologist said, "He is educated who knows how to find out what he doesn't know." Seek to understand the idea, even if the proposal is not within your comfort zone.