Five Ways to Turn a Good Idea into a Great Idea

“That was a bad idea!” Those are words that you never want to hear following implementation of any initiative for which you have responsibility. But, it does happen. Ideas are important. An idea is a thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action. Therefore ideas serve as the oil that keeps the motor of your ministry or business running and the power to move it forward. You are always in need of good ideas. But, you can take steps to turn your good ideas into better ideas and here is how.

  1. Give every important idea some brothers and sisters. Whenever you have an idea, take time to brainstorm at least four or five other ways to accomplish the same aim. You can do this yourself but it is best done with peers and key leaders. You may discover that one of the other ideas trumps the original. But not only that, you will likely find at least a nugget or two from among the other ideas to attach to the original which will improve it making a good idea even 
  2. Filter every idea through generational filters. People do think differently and generations are a great example. Intelligence is multiplied in a group and can be magnified by involving both young and old. I am not going to quantify young and old but the point is that what you think is a good idea may not be as appealing to people who are much younger or much older than you are. In working with pastors in ministry I emphasize the importance of younger pastors enlisting at least one or more leaders or staff who are much older. Likewise, I advise older pastors to enlist at least one or more leaders or staff who are much younger. Why? They think differently. Not right thinking and wrong thinking. Not good thinking and bad thinking. Just different. Filter your good ideas through people who are much older and/or much younger and they will make your idea better. 
  3. Think through implications prior to application. Failure to do this is the reason most ideas flop. It is important to ask what could potentially go wrong, who might potentially be offended, what are the potential results, and what are the potential costs as well as returns. Look at potential implications on both the positive and negative possibilities.  Follow up by determining the likelihood of the  consequences that you come up with. If the likelihood of negative results is extremely high, slow down and spend more time in preparation. If your team determines the likelihood of good results is high, move forward. Even if the likelihood of negative consequences is low, this step can help you minimize landmines moving forward.
  4. See if the idea breathes before sending it to work. An idea naturally generates positive emotions when it bubbles up into your consciousness and builds through your intellect. Always remember that a great idea will still be a great idea next week or next month. If you let the idea sit for a week or so and have no excitement for it once some time has passed, you need to ask if it was really that good of an idea after all. Some decisions have to be made quickly and you have to go on instinct and experience. But, if time allows give the idea a few days to see if it can breathe on its own.
  5. Don’t worry about who gets the credit. One of the best generators of an idea is a former idea. Either of these may belong to you or someone else. I have seen my ideas take shape on some occasions and no one ever knew of my role in generating or sharpening them. Likewise, I have sometimes got credit for ideas that I implemented but were actually initiated by other team members. Let the idea be the star and don’t be too concerned about who gets the credit. Over time a person’s value becomes clear and as you learn to turn good ideas into better ideas, the organization benefits and so do you.

 Time to go now. I just got an ideaJ