Last week we wrote about the importance of disseminating ideas, goals and other pieces of information both within your organization and to your customers. But where do these ideas and goals come from? Successful small businesses know that you can’t operate in a vacuum. You may be the creative mind behind your business, but to build on your ideas and make informed and well thought out decisions, you must involve others in the process.
Generally, the creative process of idea generation and decision making is known as “brain storming,” but we like to look at it as “bouncing.” The word “storm” implies powerlessness over the process, as if the direction of the conversation and frenetic energy is beyond your control. When you compare this practice to the bouncing of a ball, however, you can see how you mold and shape how the outcome unfolds. Energy is built between you and your partner, but it’s a driving energy that focuses the process. Also, with bouncing, you have a chance to “catch” the idea and elaborate on it before “throwing” it back to your partner.
The key to a successful “bounce” session is two-fold: understanding the objective behind the bounce session, and the second is choosing a partner or partners to achieve your objectives. Let’s look at some tips on starting a bounce session.
Tips on Defining The Objectives of a Bounce Session
Identify One Objective
Before you begin to bounce, identify what the one objective is for that session. What outcome are you looking for from yourself and your bounce partner? Identifying the objective will help you pick the right bounce partner.
During bounce sessions new ideas may come up that relate to other objectives and goals, but you need to stay focused on the objective at hand. Write down the ideas and put a pin in it so that you do not get distracted. Think of it like a drill; you need to work on dribbling today, not on shooting the ball.
Define next steps & deadlines
During your bounce session, be sure to build in deadlines and next steps to the objective you were bouncing about. Often times people bounce ideas and do nothing with them. Be sure that you identify the next steps and who is responsible. Use your partner to hold you accountable for meeting those deadlines.
Tips on Choosing a Bounce Partner
Pick a Partner Based on Your Objective
The person you choose to bounce with will depend on your goals and the type of expertise you need during your bounce session. Keep their strengths and experience in mind. You’ll want your partner to have more knowledge in the area you want to bounce about. For example, if your goal is identifying new market sectors for your business identify a bounce partner that can support this goal verses finding a bounce partner that can help you focus on streamlining processes and efficiencies, a totally different skill set.
Diversify & Familiarity
An ideal bounce partner will give you a new perspective. If you choose someone who is too similar to you, you will not get a well-rounded process. However, you should pick someone with a familiarity of your industry or someone who has been where you are now and has grown beyond.
Trust, Candor & A Thick Skin
You should trust your bounce partner completely, and vice versa. You want honest feedback from your partner and you can’t be afraid to share your thoughts as well. You also need to be prepared to hear constructive feedback and recognize that it is coming from a place of support.
The process outlined above is ideal for small business owners and senior staffers who need an outside perspective, but this process can also be applied internally in an organization as well.
Let us know if you’re bouncing and how it helps your business grow.