CE Pro 100 Keynote: There is Such Thing as Too Many Ideas

SnapAV founder Jay Faison closes CE Pro 100 Summit with a presentation on generating and prioritizing ideas: too many will alienate employees and undermine execution.

SnapAV founder and CEO Jay Faison
Julie Jacobson · November 9, 2012

SnapAV founder and CEO Jay Faison recalls an employee who once asked him, “Why doesn’t anyone like my ideas?”

The reason, says Faison, is that colleagues “only see new ideas as adding to their work load.”

That is so true, and it’s a sad state of affairs for companies trying to innovate – companies like SnapAV, purveyor of a wide variety of profit-making products for integrators.

Speaking at the closing session of the CE Pro 100 Summit in Houston this past week, Faison says SnapAV now has processes in place to thwart the too-many-ideas syndrome.

The system was initiated when one usually mild-mannered SnapAV employee blew a gasket when Faison foisted yet another new idea on him.

When you’re at the point where no one wants to hear your new ideas, something’s gotta give.

“You add stuff to your business every year,” says Faison. “How do you take things off?”

Now SnapAV has a process in which the company “gives everyone a say in what they’re not going to do.”

He explains, “You can only choose the best ideas, not all of the ideas. For every idea you add, you have to subtract.”

He says that SnapAV can implement about 37 new ideas per year: “We track it.”

As a group exercise, Faison took the example of referrals, which every integrator knows is important to business. He asked for suggestions from dealers on how to get more referrals. (My favorite? Seed the referral concept early, at the sales process: “I’m going to be asking for your referral.” And then continue to plant this seed throughout the implementation process.)

The 10 ideas were reviewed, and dealers were invited to vote on the best.

Then Faison asked: “So how many are we going to do? If you think you can do five, do two. If you think you can do six, do three.”

SnapAV has a voting process whereby associates rank ideas, establish deadlines and assign tasks.

He explains that companies need to develop a culture of executing: “Build a track record of execution where execution is expected.”

You can’t do this if you don’t focus on only the best ideas.

“Get a little more focused,” he says. “Enjoy the journey more, have a little more fun.”

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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]

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  Article Topics

News · CE Pro 100 Summit · SnapAV · All Topics
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