I was speaking to a CEO group lately and asked them to share something they would do to completely impress a customer in the following scenario: You run a grocery store. You can do whatever you want to get the customer to move from satisfied to loyal – to get the customer to tell his friends about you and commit to coming back. What couldyou do?
Notice I didn’t say what “would” you do – I ask, what couldyou do? I was just asking for possibilities. Possibilities are limitless – they allow for greater thinking, inventing and imagination. I didn’t want a plan, I wanted to see how big they could think. And I wasn’t impressed by the responses.
Virtually every response was something already done, or, something that would not have a profound effect on the customer. So my question was, if CEOs can’t think big, why do we expect it from our employees?
What are the things that an organization can do to help employees learn how to think big, invent possibilities and move from good to great? Here are some thoughts:
1. Have all employees submit 2 “great” ideas a week. Make a requirement of all employees to submit 2 unconventionalideas each week on how the organization can create loyal customers (or operate more efficiently, change more seamlessly, hire the best employees, create a more powerful culture… you decide the issue). By asking for unconventional ideas, you give employees permission to dream, invent and push the limits. If the focus is only on solving instead of inventing, employees play it safe and the ideas remain small.
2. Host a monthly creativity event. Empower employees to define how the monthly event will be run and what it will ask employees to do. The goal is not only to deal with a company challenge or opportunity, but to do it in a think-big way. Create a culture that thrives on creative and innovative thinking in all it does. This encourages greater “go-for-big” ideas anytime ideas are needed.
3. Study what other big-thinking companies do. Choose a company whose approach is big (Zappos in customer service, Google in workplace environment, Southwest Airlines in workplace culture, Sam Adams in employee engagement, etc). What do think-big companies consider? What moves them to think and act this way and how can it be developed in your organization? One of the great things about today’s technology is that we have access to the brilliant things others are doing. Challenge or assign to your team to identify companies who focus on greatness or are think-big companies. Review what they find and look for immediate applications in your organization.
Today, we don’t pay employees to “do” a job. Instead, we pay them to think about the best, most efficient and most profitable responses to each event they encounter in the workplace. In short, we pay them to think. So imagine the impact on the business if they moved from just thinking to “big thinking” – of continually looking for better, more significant and more profound responses.
Challenge your employees to not only pack their brains when they pack their lunches. Challenge to always think big in each event they encounter. This is how the good companies became great – they make it easy and expected for their employees to think big. Imagine what a think big approach and attitude could do for your business.
Need help getting employees out of small thinking to big thinking? Contact me to learn more about the Fire Up! programs and our unusual and effective greatness approach to workplace teaching and coaching, and how it is activating big thinking in our clients. More information atFireUpYourEmployees.com.