When it comes to problem solving, there’s no better method for growth (and success!) than a think tank. We’ve seen them credited in countless studies; Human Rights Watch, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and Earth Institute are well known think tanks that consistently research solutions to some of the world’s toughest problems.
Traditionally, a think tank is a team made up of a small group of people, created to find innovative solutions to specific problems. But what if you turned your real estate office into a think tank? What if your existing team was always on the lookout for new ways to improve your business?
Even if you’re leading a large team, it’s best to start your think tank with a select few. Too many people from the get-go could cause problems, especially if you haven’t established any systems and procedures to maintain order.
It’s important to choose team members who you believe will be able to provide value and who work well in a team, but also those who come from different walks of life and hold opposing value systems. Diversity is key. Better yet, add a representative from all departments. We believe it’s best when all sides are represented.
Kick off your think tank with a quick email outlining your group’s objectives and explain your vision for your think tank. What problems would you like them to discuss? What sort of outcome do you hope to achieve? Once everyone is on board, set up an introductory meeting to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
During your introductory meeting, open the floor to your think tank. Ask them what problems they’re facing and work together as a group to determine which issues are the most pressing (and engaging). As a facilitator, it’s your role to ensure that everyone’s opinion is held in the same regard. No participant should be allowed to speak over others or “lead” the discussion.
Next, schedule a weekly think tank meeting and choose your first topic of discussion. Some problems may take weeks – even months – to solve, while others will be resolved quickly. Remember: go with the flow and don’t rush the process. Keep your team on task and they might surprise you with what they can accomplish!
As your think tank takes form, it’s important to encourage curiosity and open your mind to big ideas. No one should be put down for bringing something wild or outrageous to the table – after all, that’s how some of the best ideas are born. Allow your think tank to be a space for honest, open discussion, and ensure that your employees feel safe sharing their thoughts. There’s no room for bullies in a collaborative space.
Want help creating a think tank with your team? Schedule a free clarity call with Inspired for Results LLC, and let this year be the year that your team leads the way.