I believe that the people who work in an organisation know how to make it better. Better for themselves, for their customers and for their market. This should make it better for the shareholders, leaders and managers too.

Yet very few companies truly listen to their people.

Sure, they may roll out surveys and engagement initiatives. Or encourage their management tier to listen to people. But sometimes little of this feedback leads to change. I hazard a guess that it rarely makes its way to the decision makers and money holders in an organisation.

I’d like to convince you to truly listen to people in your team. To take what they say and analyse it, consider it, implement it.

As a Cultivated Manager ask the people in your team what needs improving.

  • What could be better?
  • What would make your world better?
  • What skills do you have that you’d like to use at work, but we’re not giving you the chance to?
  • What problems could we fix?
  • How could we fix them?
  • What could management do better?
  • How could we make our processes better?
  • How could we help our customers?
  • What new product ideas do you have?

Good ideas come from anywhere, but they need a safe place for airing.

The ideas, and the people who air them, require respect. Decisions around ideas need making. It won’t take long for ideas to stop coming forward if management do nothing with them. If nothing will happen with the ideas, tell people not to bother airing them.

Not all ideas will be great. Not all will be relevant. Some may be too expensive or impractical. Some may go against your company values or ethos. Some may be too early in their life. Some may be bizarre. But many can lead to improvements, change and added value.

New ideas, solutions and questions are the lifeblood of a business – they help to keep it alive. Your job as a manager is to get that lifeblood flowing in the right way.