Many businesses want to make a choice, pivot direction, or start something brand new. The team is assembled. Often within formal meetings. Is that the best idea generator? Is it where the decisions are made?
When the conference room lights are turned out and everyone is gone are there continued discussions happening behind closed doors?
Is there a meeting after the meeting? When the Zoom session is over is there another meeting, a telephone call, or a long email message?
Brainstorming sessions can be very productive.
Unfortunately, it often takes advanced facilitation skills to bring everything out. Important items are left unsaid, others are strategic and prearranged to create a specific flow, or worse, they’re selectively designed to navigate towards a predetermined outcome.
Wouldn’t it be great to capture it all?
No manipulation, no behind the scenes strategy, and just open and honest flow?
Some of the best and most truthful ideas come from the hallway chatter. That is when the information isn’t being protected, guarded, or facing criticism.
Hallway Chatter and Cocktail Napkins
Many great ideas and inventions are said to have occurred on a cocktail napkin. Some appear on yellow legal pads, others in an executive portfolio, and still others are written in a spiral bound notebook.
As it turns out, many of the decisions made, policies adopted, and future directions are the product of the conversation outside of the meeting.
They happen when ridicule is less feared and the consequences are only fairy tales or negative fantasies. There seems to be less risk and yet more power.
Pay close attention to the new idea presented in the hallway. Take a look at the cocktail napkin drawing, or what is presented from the ruffled edges of the yellow legal pad.
Often these are the honest ideas and the ones having enough risk to actually spark positive change.
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.