Imagine you are at a party with colleagues and friends having conversation about the world and the economy. All of a sudden, your mate says something that makes everyone present, think “Is he out of his mind?”. On a different occasion, may be everyone thought you were a bit crazy when you said something that was against the rules of the world. Well, embrace yourself. You are not alone. There are millions of us with millions of crazy ideas and out of the world thoughts. The issue is that we are too conscious to tell those thoughts as we are afraid of causing a social commotion and being branded by this world.
Many years back, i was invited to attend a talk on Intellectual properties. The speaker, an educated and knowledgeable man, told us a story of how a workplace was transformed because of a crazy person with a crazy idea…
A company lost a major contract with a client and the employees were morally down. The only way the company can make progress was to let employees gather themselves and push ahead hunting for new clients. But the employees were disheartened and weren’t giving the best, they really can. So the general manager called for a company-wide meeting and asked the employees what would be the best idea to boost the morale of the team to which a guy blurted “Let us arrange for a belly dance night”.
The General Manager, being a very sensible man, wanted to get to the root of this idea. After a few “why’s” he was able to understand that a group activity involving all the team members might do the job and arranged for a week out of the office and into the forest for some team building. And, as you guessed, it did the trick!
If you look at this story, there are a few learning here.
The freedom of speech that had been given to the employees by the management is commendable. Most organisations say that the employees are encouraged to share their views, but generally turns out to be lip service. To encourage employees to say what they wanted to, requires tremendous amount of effort and a lot of sacrifice in ego by the senior management.
The second learning was to respect all. If the general manager hadn’t respected the employee who came up with this idea, he would have just dismissed the idea as he heard it. Most times, the first two points go hand in hand.
Ego blinds us all and tricks us to believe that those who work for us are not as smart as we are!
The final point here is “always get to the root of the problem”. Looking at the idea of belly dancing, it doesn’t even sound remotely feasible. But when we look where this idea originated, we can then understand, it is from the thought the employees need some sort of a break from their mundane workplace.
The bottom line however is, never dismiss an idea just because it sounds unrealistic or crazy. Always try and map the thinking of the person who came up with the idea and that could lead us to a box of gold, no one has got their hands on to!