The fervid search for the big idea distracts too many people from recognizing that organizations are transformed more deeply and continuously by the relentless pursuit of small ideas.

Author Don Winkler provides the full article. He suggests four reasons why employees may hold back:

  • Employees don't think that small improvements matter, because no supervisor has ever been receptive to suggestions or acted upon them. They may have come to think that their ideas are too trivial and that their work, by inference, is too unimportant.
  • Employees have no defined forum for expressing their concerns and ideas - no regular place where the problems and opportunities they detect can be aired and acted upon.
  • Employees have no authority to take risks, to try something new, to go out of the box to fix a problem or satisfy a customer.
  • Employees have no mission or sense of shared purpose. They cannot tell you or anyone else why their company is different from its competitors. And when the mission is not clear, neither are the expectations.

This list also brings to mind SpasmodicHercules ...

(from "The Little Ideas That Could" by Donald Winkler, New York Times (14 Jun 1998); cf. CommonUnderstanding (8 Oct 1999), BuckMantras (13 Apr 2001), MissionStatement (2 Nov 2001), ProjectManagementProverbs (2 Jun 2002), FearlessLeaders (27 Aug 2003), ProjectManagement101 (16 Jan 2005), HareBrainTortoiseMind (3 Jun 2005), ...) - 2005-12-12

(correlates: ThisSide, OverQualified, PrimeDirective, ...)