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Paula Marshall's Blog

The musings of a female CEO, trying to change the way business is done.

Having an open marketplace of ideas is the cornerstone of continuous improvement. If ideas and input are stifled, you will miss out on the most honest and beneficial improvements, those from your employees. When employees are free to make suggestions, give input and see their ideas come to life, they feel a part of the product and the system that produces it. W. Edwards Deming always said, “All anyone asks for is a chance to work with pride.” Being given the chance to participate in the process, and constantly improve it, gives employees a tangible link to their work.

At Bama, here are the ways that we keep the Marketplace of Ideas open to everyone in the organization:

1. No ideas are wrong. All innovations were once novel ideas that seemed impossible. The worst case is that an idea is not usable now.

2. There are multiple ways to look at challenges and changes. Most often there is not a single “right way” to do things.

3. Solutions require uniqueness and creativity. An individual’s unique perspective may lead to an answer that may have been missed; diversity must be embraced.

4. The value of an idea is not based upon who suggested it but on its ability to work and provide benefit to the community.

5. Sharing all ideas is beneficial. Some ideas have value to particular situations while others have merit because they generate additional ideas.

6. There is no bad time for a good idea. As long as employees are willing to share their ideas without fear of judgment, innovations and continuous improvement will prevail.

This video embodies why ideas are important, and how they keep us motivated to do a great job. Enjoy!

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