Just join or propose a better idea

Being flexible, curious, and open-minded, and consciously receptive to the ideas of others helps you achieve much better results in your collaboration. We offer tips on how to do just that!

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Ga mee of heb een beter idee: Tips voor betere samenwerking

Join or Propose a Better Idea
Better teamwork by being open

Teamwork means achieving more together than you could alone. And when you consciously embrace your colleagues’ ideas, you can achieve even greater results in your collaboration. Sharing ideas not only fosters self-confidence but also promotes mutual understanding, interest in others, and creates a stronger sense of teamwork.

In this article, Exactpi shares valuable tips on sharing your ideas and being open to those of your colleagues.

1. Listen to Others

Before dismissing (unintentionally) the ideas of others, listen to see if there’s one you can work with. When collaborating, it’s essential to truly listen to each other. This means not only expressing your own thoughts but also genuinely listening to what others have to say. By listening well, you understand each other better and can make better decisions together.

For example, if a colleague proposes a new idea to improve customer service, instead of immediately sharing your own thoughts, take the time to truly listen to your colleague. Encourage them to elaborate on the idea and what they hope to achieve.

Examples of questions you can ask: “How do you think this idea will help our customers?” or “What are the potential challenges we may encounter in implementing this idea?”

By genuinely listening and asking questions, you give your colleague the space to fully express the idea and show interest, creating a situation where they feel heard and valued. This can lead to a conversation where you can brainstorm together on the best way to implement the idea and discuss any obstacles. Look for common interests and which idea aligns best with them; by pooling strengths, you enhance the impact of the ideas.

2. Share Your Ideas

If you have ideas, share them with your team. When you create an atmosphere where everyone can freely share their ideas, you can more easily brainstorm together and often come up with even better ideas.

Of course, you should preferably already have a clear understanding of why your idea matters and what exactly you’re asking of others. But it’s just as important to put yourself in the shoes of others beforehand.

What are your colleagues concerned about? Why would they support your idea, and more importantly, why wouldn’t they? By thinking about this beforehand, you shift your perspective, and the conversation won’t only be about you and your idea.

3. Just Join or Propose a Better Idea
Be Open to Other Solutions

Sometimes, you hear an idea and immediately feel like, “Nah, I don’t like it,” even if you don’t have a better solution yourself at that moment. Often, just this feeling alone prompts you to express your (rejecting) opinion. Stop doing that! Get over it. Trying new things precisely leads to better solutions and results. So if you don’t have a better idea at that moment, the trick is to go along with your colleague’s idea. This encourages an innovative climate where colleagues are more motivated to propose ideas and feel more appreciated.

At Exactpi, we summarize this approach with the slogan: Join or Propose a Better Idea (in Dutch: Ga mee of heb een beter idee).

In concrete terms, everyone can propose improvement proposals and ideas, and if they serve the company’s interests and there are no insurmountable objections, we will actually implement them for a certain period. This ensures that everyone’s input matters, that potentially good ideas get space, and that there is involvement from all team members.

4. Make Clear Agreements

To collaborate effectively, it’s essential to make clear agreements. This means agreeing on who does what, when something needs to be done, and how you communicate with each other. When everyone knows what is expected of them and takes responsibility, collaboration goes much smoother.

When discussing an idea, it’s important to discuss the objectives together. Discuss with each other what you and the other hope to achieve and make concrete agreements about the expected results and deadlines for projects, as well as who is responsible for which tasks within projects. So, who is involved in, for example, implementing the new software system? And who will be responsible for cleaning up the customer database?

Continue to communicate with each other about this. By making clear agreements at the beginning of the collaboration, you lay a solid foundation for a successful and professional relationship with your colleagues. By seeking collaboration in this, you can improve ideas, discover new things, and carry out projects that you wouldn’t be able to achieve alone.

5. Be Flexible

Being flexible is essential when things change in your team or organization. It allows you to adapt better to new situations, respond quickly to changes, and not give up when things get tough. Whether it’s about learning new things at work like new technologies or a different approach during team meetings.

An example of being flexible in such a situation: A colleague mentions that there are many social moments throughout the day, distracting them from work. To ensure there isn’t continuous distraction, the colleague suggests scheduling two fixed moments for this. And to try this for a certain period. Although this idea might not immediately appeal to you, you could be flexible by being open to this proposal and trying it out for a few weeks. In other words, join in because you don’t have a better idea. This way, you can assess the pros and cons together and see what it yields. Who knows, you might be surprised by the time saved. 😊

Being flexible, curious, and open-minded, and consciously receptive to others’ ideas helps you think differently. It provides room to grow as a person and as a team when approaching ideas from different opinions and perspectives. Additionally, it fosters a positive work culture based on trust, openness, and collaboration. This will undoubtedly lead to better results and a stronger sense of teamwork. Most importantly, it makes you a great colleague to work with because you give others the chance to shine.

Have you been inspired by this article or do you have an idea to share yourself? Let us know. We’d love to learn from you and might even share your insights in a future article.

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