You’re a rising star at your company with a big idea that could revolutionize operations or save the organization thousands of dollars. You saw the same problem everyone else saw, but you discovered a solution that no one else could see.
Once you’ve successfully gotten everyone onboard with your brilliant suggestion, what’s next? In order to turn it into action, you’ll need a well-thought-out plan.
That’s where we come in. We spoke with three experienced idea-drivers, all of whom work for RB, a multinational consumer health business whose brands include Air Wick, Enfamil, and Lysol: Jamie Lair, finance director of U.S. marketing; Fraser Jaffray, Canada supply chain director; and Anibal Fuentes, director of category management and shopper insight.
First, watch as they explain how to land your next big idea. Then, read on for their advice on the best ways to guide a big, valuable idea to fruition.
1. Get Your Leadership Attitude Right
Bringing big projects to life takes time, so you don’t want to just jump right in. Creating a strong foundation will set you up for success in the long run. A big part of that is starting off with the right attitude about leadership.
Our experts agree on three characteristics you’ll need to be seen as a leader:
- Ownership: “Ownership is key. If you have an idea and think it’s the right thing to do, you have to own that and drive it,” says Fraser.
- Flexibility: Jamie notes that as your project team moves forward, better solutions for executing may arise. “Be adaptable and willing to look at things differently. Let go of any pride or bias about your idea, so you can accept other perspectives to make it work for the greater good,” she suggests.
- Tenacity and persistence:. “You need tenacity. Find ways to relentlessly drive your idea as far as you can,” Anibal says.
2. Recruit Your Dream Team
In most organizations, it’s hard to get things done alone, so you’ll need to surround yourself with the right people. First, identify the skills you’ll need in your team. Then, invite specific colleagues with a variety of strengths—for instance, a great problem-solver, a creative genius, and a person with the proclivity to manage projects—to be a part of your team. Be sure everyone you’ve selected is excited to be involved and has the bandwidth to follow through.
“Partnership is key. More likely than not you’ll have to involve different people in the organization to get it through,” Fraser explains.
Once your crew is organized, invite everyone to a meeting to define your project and gather suggestions for the best way to carry it out. Jamie notes that she’s seen great results from fostering ideas from her whole team.
“Get your people into a room, switching away from their computers or their day-to-day, and just say, ‘Right, how can we tackle this?'” she suggests. Once you and the team agree on a mission and game plan, Jamie stresses the importance of giving each team member ownership of their part. This not only clears up any confusion about who will do what, but also empowers each person to do their best work.
3. Stay True to the Why
Now that you and your team are ready to begin, it’s important to stay true to “The Why.” This will be the guiding force for your project. “You can’t go much further if you don’t understand what you’re trying to accomplish and why,” says Jamie.
As you build out your plan, every step should get you closer to what you want to achieve. Set up checkpoints along the way to ensure you stay true to your goal, and don’t be afraid to course-correct if you find that you’re veering away from your original goal. Check in with team members to make sure you’re all on the same page, with the same goal in mind.
4. Get Stakeholders Involved Early
You have your core team, but there will be others who must buy in, provide expertise on, and even champion the final outcome in order to see your idea to fruition.
Be aware of any hurdles you may encounter, and have a plan for how to address them. You may need to include more people than your original team in order to push your plan through the correct channels. Don’t let red tape become a locked door.
“People feel much more ownership to an idea, and will stand behind you, if you give them a chance to be part of the idea,” Jamie explains.
5. Keep Your Idea Alive
Just managing your everyday life and job duties can be hectic enough without spearheading a big initiative. But, don’t lose focus. Be persistent when day-to-day life starts overtaking your team’s agenda. Nothing is worse than letting your big idea quietly disappear. “If you had a reason for doing it in the first place, you have a reason for seeing it to the end,” says Jamie.
Once your project has come to life, keep it that way. “Don’t just launch it and forget it,” Jamie advises. “Revisit it. Is it still relevant to the business? Do you need to do housekeeping on a website or even recruit new members to keep it living and breathing?” Evaluate how plans need to evolve and what needs to be done to ensure your idea doesn’t slowly fade into the background.
Making your idea a reality may seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right attitude, plan, and team in place, you can guide your plans to fruition. So, stay focused, follow the above tips, and you’ll go from idea to action in no time.