Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Young Blood

Do not sweep the ideas of your young blood under the rug, instead embrace new ideas, even if they are not fully conceptualized.

“This is how we’ve done it for years.” This response to a proposition to change practices or strategies is so common it borders on cliché.  Although business strategy is often defined by the practices and values that been have held and developed since a company’s foundation, the redevelopment of practices to keep up with changing trends is not just a good idea, it can also be necessary. As we have discussed in other articles, change is hard, but when faced with progress or failure, many still favor failing with tradition than success with progress.

This is not to say that business do not try to toe the line where progress is concerned. Many seek out youthful candidates for employment to liven up their image, or bring “fresh, new ideas” to the table, only to ignore developing strategies under the pretext of tradition. Not only does this waste both the time and talents of younger employees, but also forces managers to miss out on ideas that can actually propel business forward to keep up with changing trends and technologies. So, let this article be both a warning and an optimistic bit of advice. Do not sweep the ideas of your young blood under the rug, instead embrace new ideas, even if they are not fully conceptualized.

There are some ways, however, that you can utilize the new ideas that your more youthful staff can bring to the table, while still integrating them into the essence of the traditions and values you hold. Often, employees see staff meetings as a place for bringing new ideas to the table, even though those meeting times are set aside to get through the business at hand. Since this forum may not be the most appropriate time to deal with innovative ideas, they are subsequently squashed due to a ticking clock and a long list of to-dos. To allow for budding new ideas, consider building a mentor program in your staff. You can pair a new employee with a veteran, and allow them to share ideas and stories. This way, your new employees can openly share their ideas with industry vets that can weigh the feasibility of said ideas.

It may also be a good idea to schedule meetings that are all about improving specific aspects of your practices. Although you have plenty to do, showing a dedication to opening yourself up to improvement is a good way to show faith in your staff. If you can do these every week, introduce a weak practice that you’d like to improve upon on Monday, and meet about it with your staff nearing the end of the week. This will give them time to think, as well as conceptualize their ideas more clearly. Keep in mind, however, that the more specific the problem you outline, the more specific the solutions will be. So, stay away from issues like “how to generate more leads,” by using “how to establish a relationship with clothing retailers in our community, to garner more leads.” By being specific, you employees can offer up more nuanced and effective strategies.

Whatever you decide to do, you will want to make sure that you provide a forum, any forum, for open discussion about progress and change. If not — if you live by the standard of “this is how we’ve done it for years” — you will not only lose customers, but employees as well. Employees go where they are valued, so make sure you leave yourself open to the ideas that could change your industry as you know it, for the better.