Strategies to Create or Implement New Initiatives

Here is a list of strategies for creating or implementing new initiatives:

1. Identify and then invite representatives of all stakeholders, albeit sometimes separately, to the brainstorming table, even if those people might not constructively contribute.

2. Begin all discussions with socializing. Encourage people to distinguish you from any disagreements they might have with your ideas.

3. To the extent possible, investigate and then deploy seated people’s personal and collective values in the discussion. Research those values, but bear in mind, sometimes you can identify those values only via repeated discussions.

4. Remember that “sales” just means communicating what you know others at the table will value.

5. Incorporate all seated people and their thoughts in the discussion.

6. Know that some people require you to actively solicit their ideas. Relying solely on vocal contributors can cause misconceptions.

7. Welcome challenges; they can broaden your awareness or understanding.

8. Identify and then openly acknowledge whenever your or others’ stated or implied goals can be achieved through alternative means.

9. Routinely rephrase other people’s statements in your own terms and confirm you understood.

10. When it comes to other people’s ideas, begin from the standpoint of “how to” before “why not.”

11. Even if you have firm ideas, encourage others to actively contribute to idea-development, and search for opportunities to openly recognize, praise, and incorporate their contributions.

12. Attribute even ideas you develop to others in the room or to their constituencies, whenever possible. Know that your early articulation of an idea does not mean you were the first to think of it.

13. Be positive and friendly to everyone as the default. Ignore even personal slights, for they likely have to do with tangential issues, not with you.

14. Laugh with others, never at them or their ideas. Encourage others to enjoy interacting with you.

15. Regularly refer to other stakeholders’ ideas in positive ways, even if you disagree with them.

16. Publicly rephrase other people’s negative or excessively personalized statements in positive or relatable terms.

17. Use questions, not statements, and ensure others you merely need clarification when challenging their ideas.

18. Pose alternative interpretations, not corrections.

19. Actively connect people with like-minded goals.

20. Focus on and convince fence-riders, not outliers.

21. Employ both extrinsic and intrinsic motivations, if possible, but emphasize intrinsic motivations.

22. Identify and involve champions for the cause.

23. Collaboratively create clear action steps with specific deadlines and clearly distributed responsibilities.

24. Send summaries of conclusions or action steps and responsibilities to everyone in writing.

25. Focus on the vision, not the execution, even if stakeholder discrepancies with the vision require you to discuss solely the execution. The specific action steps do not matter as much as where they lead, and people who disagree with the vision might still help with the action steps to achieve it.

26. Allow and encourage other people’s independent or even ad hoc steps in the development or execution process. Empower contributors.

27. Welcome new or even unanticipated participants or contributors.

28. Identify, investigate, and report both proximate and distant comparisons with as much detail and relevancy as possible. Help everyone see where you are in the process by benchmark comparisons.

29. Never chastise failure when it had the right attitude in mind.

30. Focus on other people’s strengths, never inadequacies.

31. Compliment others’ strengths regularly, both publicly and privately.

32. Treat every communication with others as special.

33. Use ceremony to compliment others’ positive deeds, even their participation, as much as possible.

34. Publicly celebrate even small accomplishments.

35. Diversely assess both process and impact, at least informally or anecdotally.

36. Use all assessments as a means to make improvements.

37. Institutionalize new practices that support the vision with policies, job descriptions, or any other means.

38. Routinely develop your own skills, including if not especially time- and stress-management skills and emotional intelligence.


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