Smart Bosses & Intelligent Employees: Sharing Strategies and Creating Feedback Mechanisms – Part 2

By Kelly Vandever

In part 1, we talked about making it safe for your employees to share feedback about your brilliant ideas. Now, let’s talk about brilliant ideas from your employees.

Which leads us to this question…


When Was the Last Time You Executed a Brilliant Idea that WASN’T Yours?


When was the last time a great idea made its way up to you from someone one, two or more levels below you? Has it ever happened?

Do you have any formal mechanisms in place?  Why do you think your mechanisms aren’t working?  Have you asked your direct reports?  Have you asked their employees?

If you aren’t hearing brilliant ideas float up in your organization, you’re certainly not alone.

I read an article recently in Harvard Business Review written by researchers who study motivating employee creativity to solve organizational issues.  They discuss some of the challenges I saw myself both in the Navy and in corporate America.

At my first duty station, I submitted a money saving idea.  In my mind, it was a cogent logical idea.

My boss’s boss shut down my suggestion without an explanation… and it didn’t feel safeto ask him for one or to go above his head with my suggestion.

In corporate America, I remember reviewing the submittal process and thinking it sounded very logical. When an employee had an idea, they were to develop a detailed business case answering a long form questionnaire about their idea.  Once the employee completed that process, the suggestion would be sent up the chain of command for review.  The process made sense to me… yet the results were that no one ever submitted a suggestion.

The HBR article addressed these types of systems and talked about Joseph Golan, a leader who developed a process that helped eliminate the flaws of many such systems.

Does your system make it too hard for employees to submit an idea?  Are your leaders investedin helping their people flesh out their ideas?  Do you have adequate feedback systems when ideas aren’t adopted?


Need Help Evaluating Your Employee Suggestion Process?

Contact Kelly Vandever at Kelly . Vandever @ for a consultation.



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