Tip for the top: 'trail' new ideas to ensure success, says Hotel Chocolat co-founder

This is the first in a weekly series of blogs in which leaders from different sectors and organisations share management lessons they have learned. First up is Angus Thirlwell, co-founder of Hotel Chocolat

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If you are an ideas-driven enthusiast, it can be demoralising for you and alienating for your colleagues if you try to foist new ideas on them in an ad hoc way.

I have found that it's better to "trail" the idea informally, with no specific timings or sense of commitment. By that I mean put a taster of the idea out there to get people interested, lay some sketchy ideas down and see how and where people take it. This can help to sharpen the idea and condition colleagues to start thinking about it. 

The main thing to avoid is people adopting fixed positions for or against.

Later, present a short paper summarising the information around the concept/idea and facilitate an open discussion with a small group of not more than six. Any more and the debate may be hampered.

It's good to recognise that any organisation needs a balancing range of different humans to operate in an intelligent and effective way. Leaders need to bring colleagues along with them when considering new ideas.

Angus Thirlwell is chief executive and co-founder of Hotel Chocolat

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