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Brainstorming Method


Do you make the mistake of trying to problem solve solo?


Many executives would say that part of their job is to solve the problems in their departments or companies.  That may be true, however, for a variety of reasons the least effective way to do that is to problem solve solo.

The most effective way is to gather your team and have a Brainstorming Session.  You will not only have a wealth of creative ideas to choose from in making your decision on how to go forward, you will have empowered your employees to be creative thinkers, demonstrated that each employee can make a difference in the company beyond their day-to-day work, increased the likelihood that your employees will embrace the changes that are implemented and strengthened everyone working together as a team.  That’s a lot of value for one meeting!



A. Schedule a meeting (or designate a section of a meeting) specifically for the Brainstorming Process  (30 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the challenge and the size of the group).

B. Select an area of the business or a current challenge in which you would like to have a breakthrough.  Have a very clear and simple focus area and list it at the top of the flip chart.

C. Review the rules listed below with the entire group.  Request that everyone follow the rules.

D. Ask the group this question over and over while someone else is writing each answer on the flipchart:

asdfasdWhat ideas do you have that could possibly make a positive impact on …….. (the selected challenge)?”

E. When all ideas are “emptied out” onto paper – acknowledge everyone for their great ideas.

F. Have the list of ideas typed and distributed to the group.

G. Have a second meeting to review the ideas and determine which ideas fit into the budget, timeline of other projects and are most likely to make the difference you want to have made.

H. Create an “Action Grid” where you list who will do what by when to create the breakthrough (also known   as a “conversation for opportunity”).  Have one person be the “owner” of this Action Grid.

I. Provide regular updates to the group.  Follow through on each items listed on the Action Grid until it is successfully completed or declared canceled.




  1. Let everyone know that it is safe to speculate “outside the nine dots”.  There are no possible wrong answers.   (Extreme example:  if someone says “let’s all fly to the moon” – you say “very good – let’s put that on the list”.)
  2. No discussion, decisions or commitments until all ideas are presented
  3. No comments that discount or diminish anyone’s ideas – such as “that won’t work” or “that’s not in the budget” or we tried that before”, etc…
  4. Shift conversations that make people or situations wrong (possibilities aren’t right or wrong)
  5. One person speaking at a time – make sure all ideas are added to the list
  6. Acknowledge everyone at the end for their creative contribution
  7. Review the list of ideas and discuss further to gain full insight into the ideas
  8. Prioritize and list the appropriate items on an “Action Grid” to move forward


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