You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

What Makes an Idea Great? These 3 Key Elements Are the Answer Great ideas rule the world, but what exactly constitutes a great idea? These three things will tell you.

By Amanda Rogers

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Having spent many years in the sports world, I often find that sports ideas and business ideas are not that different. During a time when I was serving as a coach in a girls' lacrosse program, I was asked to help a team that had just had a series of tough games.

Morale was low. My coaching friend and I knew we had to inject energy into them, so we came up with a cheer called the Heart and Hustle chant. It goes like this:

Coaches: H-squared!

Players: Heart and Hustle!

And repeat until everyone's pumped up.

Simple, right? We instituted this little cheer and suddenly these young girls — about 12 years old — got fired up. The team was playing as I had never seen them play before. The chant invigorated them and they powered through.

They won in more ways than one.

Fast forward to today, and that chant is still shared by every team that comes through that lacrosse program — which has expanded to over 400 girls playing in any given year. There's a Heart and Hustle tournament, Heart and Hustle T-shirts and in my last year in the program, I received a necklace from a group of players with an H2, which represents — you guessed it — Heart and Hustle. It never ceases to amaze me that a simple cheer grew from one team and spread across the entire organization.

What does this have to do with business? Everything.

Great ideas run the world. But what makes an idea great? When I think back on that cheer and then on my current career, I think there are three key elements: authentic desire, channeled energy and receptive people.

Related: Authentic Leadership: What Is It and Why is it Important?

You can't fake authenticity

There are fake intentions everywhere — and believe me, they don't stick. We can intuitively feel whether an idea is coming from an authentic place.

Getting an idea to stick starts with not focusing on sticking but on fueling an intrinsic desire to be of service. I'm convinced that's why so many successful businesses describe themselves as people-focused or human-centric and then follow up those words with action. A team that truly wants to make a positive change in the world or really values its company mission will inherently be more impactful than one backed only by flimsy, half-hearted slogans.

Focus on your best

We all know (and love) those happy-go-lucky people who always seem cheerful and optimistic. Maybe you're one of them. But while that kind of positivity can be extremely helpful in creating a welcoming work environment, it won't make or break a company.

You create force and movement when you channel your positive energy into the best projects with the highest priority. Scattering your motivation into too many projects leaves every project without the momentum needed to deliver true impact. This responsibility often falls on management. Your team may have 10 fantastic projects they'd like to ideate on, but if you only have time for three realistically, you're doing all 10 projects a disservice by not channeling your energy. Choose your best projects and put everything into them.

Related: How to Employ a Team That Shapes Your Company Culture

Build the best team

It's often difficult to know when a team member simply isn't the right fit. Sometimes it's a matter of skills, but often it's something beyond a list on a resume.

A team member with average skills who shares your vision will work far more effectively than one who has exemplary skills but doesn't care. When you're building your team, seek prospects who lean in when discussing your company's mission. These employees will pick themselves up after an unsuccessful campaign, get back to work and try even harder to reach shared goals next time. These kinds of people are often the ones who come up with the ideas that stick.

Related: How to Craft the Perfect Recipe for Persuasive Storytelling in Your Presentations

There's no recipe

Part of what makes ideas stick is having the perfect blend of circumstances that allows all of those three components to come together — along with other far more nebulous elements like timing, community attitudes and trends — which is part of the reason why not all ideas stick. Even good ideas. So what can you do to make sure you get ideas that stick? Focus on the elements you can control and bring them together as frequently as possible.

There's no perfect roadmap and certainly no instruction manual. But getting the best people together to share their authentic desires toward a shared goal, with targeted focus, puts your team and your business in the best possible place to stir up those world-changing ideas. As a leader, that's the most important part of my job: to create the best atmosphere I can and encourage creativity, spark and a free flow of ideas. That, to me, is heart and hustle.
Amanda Rogers

Vice President, Marketing & Innovation at Merchants Fleet

Amanda E. Rogers serves as vice president of marketing and innovation at Merchants Fleet, where she oversees innovation and ESG initiatives and all marketing activity for a nearly $2 billion asset company, the fastest growing in its industry.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Business News

Samsung Makes 6 Day Workweeks Mandatory for Executives as the Company Enters 'Emergency Mode'

Samsung said its performance "fell short of expectations" last year. Now executives are required to work weekends.

Business News

I Tried Airchat, the Hottest New Social Media App in Silicon Valley — Here's How It Works

Airchat is still invite-only and prioritizes voices with no option to upload photos or write text, making it feel more human than Facebook or Reddit.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Growing a Business

They Designed One Simple Product With a 'Focus on Human Health' — and Made $40 Million Last Year

Marilee Nelson, Allison Evans and Kelly Love founded cult-favorite cleaning brand Branch Basics in 2012.

Business News

The FBI Is Warning of a New Text Message Scheme Claiming Unpaid Toll Road Charges

The agency estimates the grift has been ongoing since early last month.