LIVERPOOL, England, May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- We use the phrase 'workplace democracy' and we talk about that in relation to idea management ( http://www.organisedfeedback.com/idea-management.html). But businesses or organisations are not democracies. Management is not elected. People don't serve fixed terms and don't get voted out of office based on their ideas or policies. Issues and problems are not subject to resolution by popular (and maybe self- serving) vote.
On the other hand, any proposed solutions obviously emanate from the people within an organisation and it certainly makes sense to have those affected by change on your side and to listen to people with experience and/or intelligence before a decision is taken, thus idea management is certainly about inclusion and about one 'man' one vote .
The task of the leaders in an Organisation
According to Jim Sproat CEO of OrganisedFeedback ( http://www.organisedfeedback.com/) "A key goal of the leaders in an organisation is to create an environment where everyone feels responsible enough for what they do, such that they try to improve it, when it might be less hassle to leave matters be. Such initiative takes effort and being able to create a climate that mobilises that effort, listens to it, encourages it and rewards it must be the key to business success and employee satisfaction".
Jim goes on to say "that this is not easy to do, because leadership here it is not really about 'management' but more about character and personality and attitude - at all levels, not just in the boardroom".
It is group psychology that is at work on the individual. People are generally reluctant to suggest ideas in case colleagues think they are wrong or inappropriate or don't understand them, and they then look foolish - or are alienated as upsetters of apple carts. Others may be slow to embrace them since there can be a vested interest in the status quo and an idea may need time to be proven. So, passivity may often seem the best strategy, at least in the short term.
In conventional ways of suggesting ideas i.e. where a suggestion (often interpreted as a complaint) is made to a line manager, the idea can be seen as a threat. And it therefore goes no further. In electronic systems where openness is a value and sharing a characteristic, then the impersonal nature of the idea management process is a clear advantage.
Idea management (http://www.organisedfeedback.com/idea-management.html) is about valuing workplace wisdom and having respect for working smarter (and being smarter) and recognising that ideas evolve and that those who implement them are as important in practice as those who create them.
Of course new ideas aren't normally about upsetting things but rather about sensible suggestions which, once exposed or explained, can quickly gain support. But the apple has a great place in the History of Ideas as Sir Isaac Newton and Steve Jobs have conclusively shown.
Writing about idea management is thirsty work. Anyone like a glass of cider?
John Robinson, USP Ventures +44(0)7773-818183