Questions to Ask Before Adding Something New – Part 2

Not every idea is created equal. Ideas are important but any leader can tell you of a bad idea that started with great enthusiasm and ended with a quiet fizzle. Last time I shared two questions you should ask prior to implementing a new idea.

  1. How will the new idea help you to accomplish your purpose?
  2. What is your process?

Here are more questions that can help you to discard, improve on, or improve timing for the implementation of your ideas.

  1. Is it possible to pilot the idea prior to full implementation? “Piloting” an idea provides a built in safety net to learn, improve, or even discard an idea with minimal negative consequence.  For example, you might share with your followers that you are going to try something new for the summer months. Once you implement the idea in the summer, three things can happen. If the idea is a total flop, you are done with it by end of the summer and no one expected it to last beyond ninety days anyway. It will be viewed as an experiment rather than a failure and that keeps your leadership credible. Another possibility is that you will observe flaws that need to be ironed out. The idea can be improved upon for full implementation when summer is done. Perhaps the idea takes off and the momentum can be carried forth beyond the summer. Even if you took a risk to implement the idea, you have an exit to discard a bad idea and your leadership status is not negatively affected. This idea is perhaps the best, yet an often neglected way to maximize your leadership when it comes to idea implementation.
  2. Is this idea an expansion which will affect budget or man hours needed? Some ideas are small tweaks that improve processes, work environments, or the organizational culture. Others require large investments of time, energy, and resources on the part of the entire team. The idea may be outstanding, but do you have the resources and manpower to pull it off. A great idea that is not supported by the budget or the people to pull it off is really not that good an idea at all. At least not for you and your team. Remember my statement from part one: Every good idea eventually degenerates into work. Who is going to do it? Who is going to pay for it?
  3. Will something need to be eliminated to make it happen? This is the toughest question of them all. Suppose you are holding ten balloons in both arms. Someone offers you an eleventh. If you take the eleventh balloon you may drop all of the others. On the other hand, if they will remove one of the balloons you already have, they can replace it with the new one. The point of that quick illustration is not about balloons. It is about ideas. Organizations are good at starting things and really struggle with stopping things. Do you know how to prioritize? Where does the new idea fit in regard to priorities? Will something have to stop in order for you to have the time and resources to make the new idea work? You cannot keep adding ideas without letting go of other things, perhaps good things, things that have been part of the organization for a long time. You will be more effective by doing fewer things very well than many things half-heartedly because you or your team members are overwhelmed.

I know that you have great ideas or you would not be the type of person reading this type of article. Ask the right questions prior to implementation and you will get better traction from your ideas, avoid missteps, and continue to maximize your leadership!