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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Whose idea was that? Everyone’s.

Which deserves more reward – ideation or participation in idea formulation? Some organizations reward individuals for their ideas, while others believe it is better to reward participation in idea sessions.

Many leaders are reluctant to acknowledge that they are opposed to an idea because of their feelings about the individual who proposed it. While we live in a culture that celebrates individual contributions, we also desire reward for our own contributions to an idea's evolution and ultimate culmination.

Oftentimes, when one person drives their idea into action – and does not welcome ideas and feedback from others – it is doomed to failure. If you desire buy-in, collaboration, shared commitment and accountability, then give others the opportunity to offer their opinion and play a role.

While collaboration is invaluable, too much groupthink also presents a problem. How is the individual who brainstormed a new product feature (or new product) commensurately rewarded for his/her contribution? It is critical to share ideas with others and collaborate to deliver results.

However, when it comes to performance evaluations, a manager typically will review not only how much of a team player someone is, but also what s/he individually contributed. It is important to clearly articulate the organization's leadership model – i.e., what you value, your commitment to development and helping each employee succeed, and how successful performance is rewarded.

Both the employer and employee require an understanding about expected performance, results, reward, and the balance. If you, as manager, specifically and clearly define the terms for each employee's contributions and recognition, you will lay the groundwork for a high-performing staff and highly rewarding work environment.

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