BOOK BORROWINGS- Ideas Are Free by Robinson and Schroeder


Borrow this book if you have to!

Borrow the information inside of the book if you are smart!

And make it yours if you are wise!

This month’s book is a little different than my past blogs on leadership and self-improvement books. Ideas Are Free by Alan Robinson and Dean Schroeder is a business book so one wouldn’t think that it would belong here in a teen leadership blog, but hey, we all end up in the work world someday, so here it is.

One of the reasons this book made my monthly blog is because the success principles in this book are universal and very relevant to the world that we live in today. We all know, or will soon know, how the work place is mostly managed from the top down and usually isn’t very democratic. Teens are usually shell-shocked by the work world ways, especially after they have been pampered in school.

One of the first things that teens find out after high school is that there is way too much competition for jobs out there. It’s really tough to get a job. And when they finally do get a job, the boss makes it clear that it’s his or her way, or the highway. And the boss really means it because he or she are under pressure to perform and there are plenty of others waiting for the job we are temporarily occupying. These tough, competitive conditions don’t always add up to a good productive and pleasant work environment for teens or adults. This new overly competitive work environment can make one long for the good old days when one was still a young teen and back in school with teachers who were looking out for us.

Well, here is the flip side of the coin. No person and no business, no matter how big they are, is an island. It’s true that the bigger the company the more impersonal it tends to be. However, these impersonal factors can lead to big failures. Remember, the bigger they are, the harder they fall, right? You see, not only is the world more demanding on us once we graduate high school, but life is also more demanding on businesses today in our global market than it ever has been in the past. If businesses and managers are going to survive, they are going to have to become more democratic and learn to use the synergy of all of their employees through creating and effectively managing employee idea systems.

During these rough times of constant budget cuts one needs to remember that employee ideas are free. This idea system would encourage everyone bring an idea or two to their weekly meetings. The team would discuss these ideas and figure out which ones they can implement immediately without the help of upper management. The ideas that they can’t figure out on their own would be sent to upper management for more resources and support from the big bosses.

You see, many managers and especially the big bosses are usually far removed from the day to day work in the trenches due to the duties of their own jobs. If businesses are going to succeed and employees are going to be happy and gainfully employed in the future then employees have to have a voice that is listened to and acted upon by the leaders.

The book, Ideas Are Free has one example after another of how common employees made huge differences in the company’s bottom line, and the culture of the company. These employee ideas helped them hold onto their jobs and in some situations their ideas even created more jobs for their community.

For example, a worker in one of Europe’s largest wireless communication companies stumbled across an error in his company’s billing software, fixed it, and saved the company some $26 million per year. A secretary at Grapevine Canyon Ranch proposed a simple change to the company’s website that brought the site to the top of search engine listings. A guard at the Massachusetts Department of Correction saved that prison system $56,000 a year by suggesting the use of digital cameras instead of film to process new inmates. All of these employees that drastically changed their companies were just common people like us. Some of them were even quite young.

You see, ideas are free, and it is a fact that we all have a lot of them in our brains whether we know it or not. As ‘just an employee’ we all can make a real difference. And some day when we do successfully work our way up to management, we can continue to make a difference by encouraging our people to come forward with their ideas! And even more importantly, we need to listen to them, and act upon their ideas as a true leader would. Read the book, Ideas Are Free, you’ll enjoy it. I did. And thanks Page Thibault for suggestion this great common sense book to me for business and every day common life.

Daniel Blanchard is the author of the teen leadership book series, Granddaddy’s Secrets.