Walt Disney had a very simple strategy for realising his dreams. Step 1: Dream BIG, really big, dont worry about whether its possible or not. Step 2: Figure out what it would take tomake the dream possible. It doesnt matter how extreme or challenging the plan may be, focus on the possibility. Step 3: How can you improve the plan? Who else can contribute to this plan for the better? Special note- in steps 2 and 3 the dream is untouchable, uncompromisable.
The Thinking Big hack is an engagement model that harnesses the dreams of those within an organisation, and makes them possible through collaborative, 'what if?' planning. It harnesses traditional well established skills whilst unleashing imagination and creativity. Ideas come from the bottom up, are freely contributed by all employees. Dreams are rated by the enthusiasm they infect, the collaboration the draw in to their planning.
- How do we create an infectious enthusiasm, passion and pride in our organisations?
- How do we create a momentum that is self sustaining, rather than drag through either carrot or stick?
- Visions come from the top down of the organisation, and if they do switch people on, it's rarely for long
- How can we harness and maximise staff imaginations and curiosity as an every day part of work, in a constructive, collaborative way?
- Ideas are submitted by any channel- drawing, video, email, meeting.
- They are broadcast on a very big, very funky central hub, which has interaction, voting and posts (not broadcast) to stimulate engagement and bouncing of ideas. The general challenge is how to make the company truly awesome at what it does. Specific challenges can also be posted in short intervals.
- Posts/ responses are about 2 things: 1.how to make the idea possible, ways it could be approached. These are celebrated as much as the original ideas. 2. Measuring potential benefits: What would realising this dream mean to the organisation? What would it mean to the organisation?
Step 2: The art of the apparently impossible.
- Voting amongst staff narrows down the top 5, and v olunteer teams begin working on developing a plan. Those who posted ideas on implementation/ planning could be joined up with those who posted the original idea.
- External expertise can be brought in where requested.
- As always, the 'dream' is sacrosanct.
- Facilitation would help the team stay positive when hitting difficulties in planning, prompting 'what if's', and nurturing the imagination/ creativity of the teams (it is often a forgotten skill and joy)
Step 3: Improving the Plan
- The 5 dreams and their plans, are shared organisation wide, visually, audibly. In mean time, accountable executives can choose to run with ideas that affect one area only and require little investment/ cross function collaboration. This will encourage quick wins.
- Posts/ responses are about 2 things: 1. Suggestions to improve the plan. 2. Capturing potential difference this would make to the organisation and it's customers.
- Step 4: Making it Big
- Final presentations are made of the ideas and their plans.
- 'I'm in' voting takes place across the organisation
- The Board become accountable guardians of the winning dream. Progress updates and celebrations of successes are broadcast on 'the wall'. Stumbling blocks in roll outs are also broadcast, and suggestions/ ideas to resolve encouraged.
- A percentage of the incremental profits are held back for employees either as a bonus scheme or to begin a share ownership buy back
- Greater engagement, buy in and commitment of staff to direction of organisation
- Unlocking capability and potential through encouraging staff to dream
- A stronger connection between the causes Senior Management are committed to, and the beliefs of staff across the organisation
- Improved performance of the organisation through implemented ideas and plans
- With facilitation, roll out a mini process within functions/ teams. Ideas can be developed privately or in groups (depends on current culture of organisation?) Begin engendering understanding and belief in creativity being valued, and in the steps of the process. Identify 'champions' within organisation, to announce larger process, backed up by visible CEO and Board support. Announcements should come from staff within the organisation rather than at Board level, to increase awareness of empowerment and 'this is something different, that we get to lead on rather than follow'.
- Roll out the larger scale steps as previously described. Begin by posting some of the ideas developed in smaller sessions to kickstart momentum.