The “Great Ideas Conference” is an event provided by the American Society of Association Executives that I attended and presented at in March. It was my first time to attend this conference, and I was astonished with everything related to the event: the registrants, the presentations, the networking, and all the fun. Truly, great ideas were everywhere, and I knew I wanted to write a blog about some of these great ideas. However, selecting the golden nuggets to highlight was just not possible—too many to choose from. However, there was one other big takeaway from the conference that was blog worthy: allow yourself to have great ideas!

Too often, we all get caught up in handling the day-to-day. Those that work in the professional education world are especially prone to the day-to-day grind because you are often delivering events. With events come deadlines and details, so you have little to no flexibility in your day. The agenda is already set for you. In fact, I hear many of my peers in the CE world complain about having a list and never getting to it. Stepping back from the details of day-to-day work is a must if you and your staff are to have great ideas. Schedule time for you and your staff to just pause and think. Schedule time for you and your staff to brainstorm anything and everything.

Schedule time for you and your staff to relax and have some fun. Schedule time for you and your staff to step away from the lists, the calls, and the deadlines and allow yourself to come up with a single great idea—and then implement it. If you don’t work to look at things from the 30,000 foot level, you’ll never get to that level and probably miss doing something fantastic.

Allowing you and your staff to have occasion to cultivate great ideas is different than strategic planning. With strategic planning there is more data, process, planning, and measurement. With pausing to think there is openness to ideas that may become a part of a strategic planning process that result in something great.

If you don’t allow yourself the time to cultivate new ideas, things become stagnant. Nose to the grindstone and responding to the daily details is important, but nothing will change or get better. Creating a culture where great ideas are fostered and welcome not only makes work more fun and interesting, but it could likely take you and your organization to the next level. Now isn’t this a great idea? What’s your great idea?