1 Powerful Question to Drive Innovation

If you’re like most progressive business owners, you want your company to stand out from the crowd…to be innovative…to have a clear market position. You probably spend a lot of time thinking about these things, and get frustrated when you try to implement something new, only to get push-back from employees who aren’t nearly as excited about your new initiative as you are.

You might find yourself walking around muttering, “Why can’t my employees just get on board? Why can’t they just see the value in what I’m trying to implement?”

How do you get employees on board with innovation?

Recently, Chuck Parmely, owner of The Overhead Door Company of Riverton & Lander tried something different. Instead of trying to figure it all out on his own, he asked his employees a powerful question:

If you could change anything in this company with the way it does business, what would you change?

Chuck wants change to be a “we thing.” He got a lot of good answers and ideas from asking this question of his employees.

This question is powerful in several ways:

  1. Employees always will have a different perspective on the business than you will. Often they are directly involved in delivering your product or service to the customer. Simply because of what they do day in and day out, they see opportunities and challenges that you as the owner will never see.
  2. When employees know you want their input, they will share it with you.
  3. Ask this question of your employees on a regular basis – monthly! Why? Even if you think you have an open door policy and your employees know you welcome their input, as an employee, it is just really awkward to walk up to your boss and say, “I think we should do this differently…”On the other hand, if your employees know you will ask this question in a meeting every month, they will feel much more comfortable sharing ideas because their ideas have been explicitly invited.
  4. The real beauty of this question is that YOU don’t have to do all of the thinking about innovation. Let your employees give you ideas for how to innovate. They’ll have lots of ideas. Your job will shift from being the one who comes up with all the “great” ideas (that no one wants to implement) to being the one who puts ideas together in the most effective ways to improve your business’ Area of Innovation.
  5. When you are trying to implement something new that your employees have suggested, they are already on board with the idea. After all, it came from them!

Combine asking this question of your employees with regularly asking powerful questions of your top customers and you will be on your way to creating a strong niche in your market that no other business can even come close to competing with.

Thanks, Chuck, for letting me share this with other business owners!

About The Author

Dr. Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist and international best-selling author of the How to Hire the Best series and The 4 Week Vacation™, is the founder of Tap the Potential and host of the Profit by Design podcast. At Tap the Potential, we work to free business owners from the constant demands of a growing business.

We believe work supports life, not the other way around. Clients in our Better Business, Better Life coaching program have more time for what matters most and more money in their bank account than they’ve ever had. Next, we send them off on a 4 Week Vacation™ to celebrate their hard-earned journey to take their life back!

Dr. Sabrina and her team at Tap the Potential are on a mission to change the story of entrepreneurship from one of long hours, grinding it out, to one of sustainably profitable businesses that support and enhance life. The Tap the Potential Solution™ and our Tap the Potential Family of Business Owners are disrupting small business as usual. We are on our way to making the Tap the Potential Solution™ the mainstream model for growing business.

By 2023, 150 Tap the Potential clients will have taken 4 Week Vacations. These are the trailblazers, role modeling what’s possible for entrepreneurs. In many entrepreneurial circles, it is becoming more and more common for one entrepreneur to ask another, “Have you taken a 4 Week Vacation™?” (as opposed to asking “How many employees do you have?” or “What is your annual revenue?”). Taking a fully unplugged 4 Week Vacation is rapidly becoming the recognized symbol of entrepreneurial success.

Never one to accept the status quo or back down from a challenge, Dr. Sabrina’s How to Hire the Best series grew from her desire to solve the toughest hiring challenges interfering with her clients’ growth and profitability. What sprang from her experience working with entrepreneurs in rural areas catapulted her into becoming the world’s leading expert in attracting top talent in small businesses—no matter what hiring challenges those businesses are facing—and earned Tap the Potential’s reputation as the go-to resource for entrepreneurs committed to creating Great Places to Work with thriving coaching cultures and highly engaged team members working from strengths.

As The Business Psychologist, and with her years of driving profit in small businesses, Dr. Sabrina knows what it takes to find, keep, and motivate exceptional performance out of your biggest investment—team members.