I’m tempted to suggest you get a new manager, but that may not be practical. You can always rotate the leadership of department meetings or have someone outside the department be the coordinator. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you do everything you can to create a high-energy, positive environment. And when you do, you will be surprised at how much your workers want to share their ideas on how to do their jobs better.
Have someone note each person’s name and his or her ideas as they are expressed. Get as much detail as possible from the originator while the idea is fresh. You don’t want to stall the meeting on a few ideas, but you do want a good record.
You can place an Idea Box in the room into which people can put ideas that occurred to them during the meeting. Be sure they write their names and a clear idea as to what they are thinking.
Respond and Implement
Respond to every idea within seven days if possible. You can delegate this to a high-level person, but make it happen. And be sure responses are honest and tactful. And whatever you do, tweak the good ones and implement them. From there you go head in any direction—Idea of the Month, Person with Most A-Rated Ideas, Best Idea Department, and on and on.
But do something. People love recognition and feedback. And the payoff for you will be higher morale and better ideas.
Make this happen. If you don’t have the time or skill to wear the pants on this, put someone in charge who does and be rock certain that your employees know you are not only behind this but up to speed on everything. You people will respect the program about as much as they perceive you do.
Things may be a bit rocky in the first few months, but most new endeavors have bugs in the earlygoing. Stay with the I-Power program, improving it as you go, and you may just find that the people have become an invaluable internal consultant for the Executive Suite.