7 Phrases to Ban When Trying to Discover New Ideas

by | May 15, 2020 | Church Revitalization, Small Church / Rural Church, Uncategorized

The best ideas in an organizational setting often come by getting a group together and searching for new ideas or ways of doing things. My mindset is you can usually come up with better solutions if you put the right people in a room and let them throw lots of ideas on the table – even seemingly bad ideas (at least at first).

The reality is change spurs momentum, so if you want to create some excitement around you, get a variety of people in a room and let the ideas flow freely. If you are in a stuck or stale position – and want to see new growth – one recommendation I’d give is to organize a session of ideation.

But, you’ve got to be intentional to be successful. You need enough people. (If you don’t have a large church staff, invite some laypeople. And, inviting outside people is often a good idea even with large staffs.) You need the right people – people who will voice their own opinions but will also be positive-minded, cooperative, and supportive of other people’s thoughts.

It’s usually good to begin with some open-ended questions or problems to solve in order to spur discussion. You need plenty of time, because ideas often come slowly. You need a relaxed environment – people need the freedom to get up and walk around the room, for example.

And, then you need to establish some rules upfront. This is the part we sometimes fail to do and where the process gets off track.

Specifically, there are certain phrases, which cannot be heard in an effective meeting intended solely to generate ideas. They should be off-limits. In fact, you might even give everyone the freedom to challenge when they hear one of these.

There are probably others, but let me share some which come to my mind.

7 phrases to eliminate when generating ideas:

  • We’ve never done it that way.
  • We can’t afford it.
  • So and so is not going to like it.
  • Let’s get serious – so only throw out ideas that make sense.
  • We’ve tried that and it didn’t work.
  • The problem with that is…(before the idea has a chance to even breathe)
  • That’s ridiculous – always translated you’re ridiculous.

Additionally, long sighs, shrugged shoulders, or any animation which displays a sense of disgust or lack of initial support should also be discouraged.

There should be plenty of time to critique ideas before they are implemented, but when looking for new ideas you want EVERY idea on the table. There are no bad ideas at this point – capture all of them. In fact, the one, which may seem the worst idea of all, may be the trigger for someone else’s spark of genius.

This is a great time to encourage randomness. I’ve even led us to play games prior to starting such a meeting.

New ideas are usually out there – they just need to be brought to the table. That’s the main benefit of this type process.

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Ron Edmondson

I am CEO of Leadership Network. I was previously pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church, a church leader and the planter of two churches. I am passionate about planting churches but also helping established churches thrive. I love assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy, and life. My specialty is organizational leadership, so in addition to my role as a pastor, as I have time, I consult with church and ministry leaders. I have more than 35 years of leadership experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and have been in full-time ministry for over 15 years. I have successfully led the restart of one church and the planting of two churches, and now we are seeing God’s hand tremendously in church revitalization. I have a seminary masters and a master’s in organizational leadership. I also once helped lead (as an elected official) a mid-sized city, where I served as Vice Mayor and Finance Chair. The greatest times for me are with my wife Cheryl and our amazing adult sons, Jeremy, his wife Mary, and our youngest son Nate. Over 20 years ago, I founded a non-profit ministry called Mustard Seed Ministry, which provides devotional resources, conducts family, marriage, and parenting, and church leadership seminars. My INTJ personality on the Myers-Briggs indicator means I have big ideas, I love creative and critical thinking and I love to see progress. I am usually around people but crave downtime. For years I was usually training for either a half or full marathon. Running was my most productive thinking time. Knee problems in recent years have caused me to stop running, but I’m committed to finding the time I need to fuel my mind, body, and spirit. I write several times weekly on leadership, church, and family. To sign up for my blog on a reader or by email, click HERE. I do interact with my readers, so feel free to contact me. You can email me at ron.edmondson@gmail.com.I am also on Google+ at http://www.gplus.to/ronedmondson, Twitter at www.twitter.com/ronedmondson and Facebook at www.facebook.com/ronaedmondson. My devotional site is www.mustardseedministry.com