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Hey Leaders: When is an Idea a Good Idea?

July 3, 2015
Borderless Leadership

Leaders frequently face the challenge of trying to determine weather a new idea is a good one or not. And these ideas can originate either from their own minds or from others on their team.

But how do you ascertain if any given idea is worthy of further exploration? How do you prioritize those that do warrant more investigation?

1. Learn to G.R.O.W.

One simple method is to test an idea with the G.R.O.W. Quotient: Gain, Risk, Obstacles and Willingness. The G.R.O.W. Quotient is a quick way to qualify an idea that supports further action and quantify how it should be prioritized. I will start first with the simple mechanics. This is a collaborative tool, one that is meant to foster dialogue and is served well by the collective intelligence of a group. I use the G.R.O.W. Quotient frequently in Ideation workshops or in Solution workshops. Each of the four elements is based a 5 point scale where a rating of 1 signifies “little or few” and rating of 5 signifies “a lot or many.”

The formula is as follows: “G” Rating – “R” Rating – “O” Rating + “W” Rating = G.R.O.W. Quotient

Gain
What is the upside or return on the idea? What would it mean to the organization to solve this issue or to sell this product? Would the organization gain a little or a lot from this idea?

Risk
What is the risk inherent in this idea? What could happen to the organization, what might it cost? Would it impact the relationships with clients or customers? Is there a little or a lot of risk in taking this action?

Obstacles
What are the barriers? What limits the implementation? Is it capital intensive? Does it require an organizational shift or change in culture? Are there a few obstacles or are there many?

Willingness
What is your personal willingness to take on this initiative? What is the team and overall organization’s willingness? Is there an internal champion? Is there a little or a lot of willingness to act?

2. Be Positive

To qualify an idea as something warranting further exploration, the G.R.O.W. Quotient should represent a positive number.

  • A negative G.R.O.W Quotient is an indicator of an idea, which in its current state, is not worthy of further pursuit.
  • Use the G.R.O.W. Quotient to help quantify and prioritize an idea.
  • The optimal G.R.O.W. Quotient is 8
  • The closer the score is to 8, the higher the priority that should be placed on the concept.

3. Know Your Score

To illustrate its use, I offer this example:

During a senior staff meeting, a VP of Operation suggests increasing the customer lead-time from 48 to 72 hours. The President suggests to the group that they use the G.R.O.W Quotient to evaluate the idea. The group decides that increasing the lead-time would improve order visibility, assist production efficiency and increase order fill rate.

The group decides there is a fair amount to gain and assesses a rating of 4. A few customers might not be pleased with having to order 3 days out, but the VP of Sales feels confident she can explain the benefits and get those customers to buy into this change. The group feels the overall risk is low and assesses a rating of 2. Other than a need to train the customer service department and change warehouse and order dates, there are few obstacles in the way and the team settles on a rating of 1. Finally, the company is committed to providing the best customer experience. Increasing order fill would help them better deliver on this commitment. The team determines that there would be strong willingness to make this change and therefore awards a rating of 5.

(“G” rating = 4 ) – (“R” rating = 2) – (“O” rating = 1) + (“W” rating = 5)

The G.R.OW. Quotient is 6. The team decides to move forward with the change in order lead-time.

4. Be Wise, Prioritize

This simple process accomplishes a few key things:

  • First, it provides a way to qualify an idea that supports further action
  • Next, it also provides a quantifiable means to determine how to prioritize
  • Finally, and most importantly, it provides a framework to discuss and dissect an idea by extracting the concept from its originator and injecting objectivity into the process.

I am confident that the G.R.O.W. Quotient is a simple tool to implement. However, I do not have that same confidence that this short article is adequate to explain its implementation. Therefore, I encourage you to use the comment section below to pose any questions or to request further clarification. I will do my best to respond to each!

By Elliot Begoun

Source: The Linked 2 Leadership Blog

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