Chapter 11 Reach right down

When management is searching for new ideas for a marketing campaign, or for a strategy, or for ideas to increase sales or to cut costs, or for a new slogan, why don't they more often seek the input of the people who know the most about the organisation — the staff?

Most organisations, big or small, could benefit if management reached down for ideas more regularly. If there is a problem to be solved, or a strategy to be created, the first step should be to get a broad range of ideas on the table. Then you can work out what the best ones are. Who better to provide those ideas than those who work within the organisation?

Imagine two businesses, a restaurant and a large electrical goods retailer. Both are experiencing declining sales and need a strategy to revitalise their business. Both could benefit by first asking everyone who works in the business to contribute ideas. Doing so doesn't take a lot of resources. All they need do is send out a general email:

We are looking to grow the business and win more customers, and would appreciate it if you took some time to think about ways we might achieve this.

Please think about it and pass on your ideas. If you can't think of any solutions, then perhaps you can instead identify any problems you think we have. What isn't working perfectly? In what areas could our processes be improved? Which of our systems are inefficient? What irritates our customers? Please share your ideas or thoughts with your manager, ...

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