One of my all-time favorite leadership tools is brainstorming. Defined, it is a process for generating ideas and solutions through intensive and, often, freewheeling group discussion. The process begins with the participants feeling free to express their thoughts without reprisal.
Assembling the thoughts and ideas of creative and engaged people who have a stake in the success of an organization can be a powerful and rewarding experience. Every participant is encouraged to suggest as many ideas as possible, no matter how improbable or outlandish. Analysis, discussion and critique follow after the brainstorming is completed. Then the leader must guide the group to next steps.
We brainstormed in one breakout session during our recent company conference. Small groups of seasoned general managers and directors of sales shared ideas for projects in which our hotels can engage and give back to their communities. They identified nearly 100. After the session, the leaders compiled a master list entitled Community Service Opportunity Ideas and distributed it as a valuable resource for all of our hotels.
Brainstorming gives everyone an opportunity to contribute and the group benefits from the collective wisdom. If you haven’t used this tool lately, I highly recommend it.