That idea doesn’t have wings! Seven ways to get your team on board.

Can you land your idea?



There is an analogy that an idea is like an airplane. Unfortunately, there are times when there isn’t enough runway for an idea or strategy to take off. Many times it is your team that prevents that take-off from taking place.

Here are seven ways to get your team on board when presenting a new idea or strategy:

  1. Present the Problem You Are Solving – Start with the heart. Tell your team what problem is being solved. Next, help the people on your team understand why they should care about solving the problem. Create buy-in. Airplanes cannot fly without lift.
  2. Tell a story – Ideas and strategies can be presented in pictures, words or even a short video. We are taught to listen to stories to illustrate points from an early age. Use that same technique to draw your team in. The story can be fiction, but the problem must be clearly identifiable to the team. A flight requires a destination for the airplane.
  3. Provide One Solution – Every story has an ending. Even if details of your idea are not completely mapped out, you need to present one possible solution or end result. Then step back and let the team confirm, improve or change the idea or strategy you present until they agree on it. Every flight needs a flight plan to arrive at the destination.
  4. Create Assignments – Ideas and strategies begin to move when the team members are assigned a task with due dates. In most teams, the members each enjoy one assignment over another. As often as possible, assign tasks that align with team members’ strengths. An airplane has a ground crew and a flight crew and each has a specifically assigned task to assure a safe and timely flight.
  5. Communicate. Then communicate some more – Remind the team throughout the assignment what problem they are solving. Remind the team that they have agreed on an idea or strategy to turn the problem into an opportunity. Check that important milestones are met and celebrate each milestone. Tell more stories along the way. The pilot not only makes an announcement at the beginning of the flight, but he updates the passengers along the way. Once in a while, he even tells you to look out the window and enjoy the view.
  6. Adjust Ideas and Strategies as Needed – Just because the idea or strategy sounded great on paper, it doesn’t mean the team anticipated every possible interruption to the plan. Be nimble and adjust accordingly. Airplanes change course due to bad weather every day.
  7. Declare a Victory – Declare a victory when the idea or strategy is executed successfully and the problem is resolved or the opportunity is showing the results anticipated. Once the airplane has arrived at the destination, the flight crew announces the arrival. Then “DING” off you go!

Ideas can be short-lived if the members of your team are not given the chance to get on board. Just like Sereita Cobbs, Director, Program Management, ESPN Digital Media says in the video above, every member of the team has to understand the end objective.

Once a team understands the destination, they can fly the airplane in that direction with great accuracy.

Happy flying!

Comment below: How do you bring your team on board when you have a new idea? Have you ever been the member of a team where the idea (airplane) didn’t take off? Why did it happen that way?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.