Encouraging employees to think outside the box

Innovation is the backbone of any small business. Without the benefits of economies of scale, small business owners must constantly challenge themselves and their employees to be creative. Simply going by the book and sticking to traditional business models is not likely to lead to tremendous growth and success for small businesses. Instead, these owners should be encouraging their employees – and their own brains – to think outside the box in all facets of the company, from day-to-day operations to coming up with innovative marketing strategies for small business. Here are some tips on how to encourage workers to challenge themselves beyond the norm.

Set parameters to focus your ideas
While small business owners might want to encourage boundless freedom in the hopes of discovering a supply of endless creativity, Entrepreneur Magazine reports that this might actually be unproductive and inefficient. Setting parameters before brainstorming sessions can help focus your employees’ thinking into tackling specific issues. As a manager, come up with specific questions that ultimately drive toward what you’re trying to accomplish, including establishing prompts and asking follow-up questions.

Never say never
When faced with a seemingly impossible task, employees might be prone to saying that it simply cannot be done. As a manager, do your best to strike this sort of thinking from your workers’ mindsets. Inc. Magazine recommends you consider everything and go through each possibility, no matter how ludicrous it might seem, until you know for a fact that the task cannot be accomplished.

Quantity, not quality, is more important
During brainstorming sessions, every manager is ultimately looking for that one brilliant idea that will change the face of the company. However, many bad ideas need to be considered and tossed aside before reaching the apex of solutions. While managers might ask their employees for quality suggestions, Entrepreneur Magazine recommends turning off your internet editor and exhausting all possible ideas before dismissing them as good or bad.

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Martin Jones

Martin Jones is a Senior Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he assists in leading strategy, campaign ideation and marketing execution for Cox Business social media & content marketing. Today, over 1 million fans engage with Cox Communications content, campaigns and Customer Care on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube. LinkedIn and Google+.