A vibrant workplace atmosphere exudes energy, innovation, productivity and excitement. It is a place where good ideas – big ideas, are being generated.
One way to find the big idea is brainstorming. Brainstorming is simply using the brain power of a compatible group to storm a problem. Sessions such as these excite the imagination of each individual and it stimulates the power of everyone present. It also challenges the group to think creatively. The results of brainstorming can be quite amazing. In this way you often get the best results in a shorter period of time. If creativity dries up and everyone gets bogged down, stop and rest for awhile and come back with a fresh approach later. Some rules of brainstorming should be:
No one must not be allowed to criticise someone else’s idea as it breaks the positive thought processes of the group and creates hostility and division. People must be allowed free reign of ideas – the wilder and bigger the ideas the better.
Quantity is important – the more ideas the better. This is because often the later ideas are higher in quality than the earlier ideas. In this case quantity brings quality.
Allow others to improve on ideas you may have already put out into the brainstorming domain. They may create much better suggestions.
Imagination used in this way is a gold mine of ideas from a co-operative mindset where people are working with and through each other. In this way a business can brainstorm its way to success.
In today’s world community, international corporations are realising that they must think smart and think big to remain relevant. Since their businesses span country boundaries their people are coming into contact with others who are different from themselves – in expertise, geography, culture or some other factor. The coming together of these different factors can kindle newer, more creative ideas and bigger thinking when pursuing a vision for the company and keep them ahead of the competition. The innovation that comes with the diversity of people and their ideas creates positive energy and resultant action.
One man who insisted on thinking big was Merill J Fernando, the creator of what is now the third largest global tea brand – Dilmah. He was born in Sri Lanka and his playground was the tea plantations of his nation. Here he developed his passion for good tea. Soon after leaving school he was accepted as a trainee tea taster to be taken to Britain. When he finished his training he joined a British owned tea business and within two years was made Managing Director eventually bought the business. Although successful he was unhappy with the way his exports were handled. He noticed the problem that companies blended different teas from different countries so what people were buying was not 100 per cent Ceylon tea, which he says, is the finest. He felt the Ceylon identity was lost and quality was also compromised. Also, he could not understand why a country which produces the world’s finest teas could not market its own product.
Merill Fernando dreamt of starting his own brand of quality, totally 100 per cent Ceylon tea. He kept thinking big and learned how tea was exported, how it was blended, branded, packaged and sold. It disturbed him that multi-national companies could source product from multiple origins regardless of quality and package it then sell it at a high price. He challenged the system that prevented him from marketing Ceylon Tea packed at origin. He pursued his dream without fear of failure and although there were many challenges to overcome his dream and big thinking have made him a force in the global tea industry.
Whether the company is small or large, in the current climate business needs a big vision. If you want that big vision to come into being you must be willing to invest in the tools, systems and people to help you get there. When you have a big vision there will be those who feel threatened as they see you striding outside your comfort zone and others will be jealous. Critics will appear from nowhere and when they do and start making a noise, you know it means you must be really doing something worthwhile. Go ahead with your vision and don’t give up. You will see the results and it will give you a great sense of accomplishment.