Two heads are better than one!
Cheryl, a manufacturing service supervisor for a dental equipment manufacturer, told Session 7b of the Leadership Development LAB (LDL):
“In June of this year, we needed to re-evaluate our dental furniture warehouse space. We needed more space. I decided to eliminate two aisle ways, which is approximately 3000 square feet of badly needed space. I only had four rows to begin with so this would be a 50% reduction of our aisle space, but it would allow our shipping department to expand.
“I explained the situation to my department and asked for their input. Someone suggested that we go out to the warehouse with a flip chart to brainstorm what could be eliminated, moved, disposed of, piled higher or rearranged on each of our warehouse shelves.
“We packed up our flip chart and moved from my office out to the warehouse floor. The brainstorming exercise only took approximately 30 minutes. To my surprise, we generated over 27 ideas from this short 30 minute brainstorming session! We were able to implement at least 78% of the new ideas immediately. We are still working on the balance of the idea. All the ideas have potential. We found far more and far better ways to solve our problem than I thought possible.
“The lesson I learned from this experience is that when I willingly invest in brainstorming, I get far more problem-solving ideas. My team and I are able to generate far more ideas than just one or two of us working alone could. The more ideas we generate, the better ideas we have to work with. I found that through brainstorming everyone takes ownership and feels like an integral part of the project.
“The action I call you to is evaluate your own department needs. Don’t give up on
big problems just because at first they seem impossible to solve. In fact, figure out what you have given up on and what you have decided is impossible to solve. Then use the brainstorming techniques to see how many ideas you and your team can generate to solve those seemingly impossible problems. Be sure and give full credit to the team for all of the ideas that are generated and implemented.
“The benefit you will gain is a greater diversity of ideas. Everyone on your team will feel like a genuine part of your improvement projects.”
Here is a question we ask the executive team of client companies to consider when we conduct the Turbo’s Leadership Team Advance: “What, today, is impossible to do, and if you could do it, it would revolutionize your business?” Try this question with your team.
- Go for quantity, not quality.
- Encourage free thinking.
- Green light thinking ONLY!
- Everyone participates.
- Encourage humor.
- Always use a flip chart.
- No evaluation, put down, or judgment.
- Keep things moving by using time limits.
- Form a demanding question . . . “In what ways can we . . . ”
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