Start practicing this habit: At the outset of a conversation, brainstorm or meeting, ask the group whether you are having an innovation/creation conversation or an execution/delivery conversation. Share your own expectations with the group. As much as you can, try to separate these two lines of thinking.
To take it one step further, schedule two 30-minute meetings and devote one to innovation and one to execution. You’ll be more effective in two short, focused meetings than a one hour-long meeting where you bounce back and forth between the ceilings.
On an upcoming project, try separating your team into two groups: a Concept Team and an Execution Team. The first group will be responsible for creating the idea or concept for the project. The second group will bring that concept to life. Keep the teams separate until the Concept Team has solidified its idea, otherwise the Execution Team may raise flags that limit its freedom of thought.
Get the Concept Team to develop an idea that excites them, has few limits and boundaries, and fulfills the project objectives. Make them present the concept to you, and then present it to the Execution Team together. Work with the executors to develop a plan to build and launch the campaign, product, or initiative. Recognize that some elements of the concept may have to change, but challenge the Execution Team to do its very best to make it work.
For the next project, switch up the teams. Changing responsibilities will keep everyone motivated and fresh. The simple separation of the idea creation and execution functions can help your people recognize their proximity to challenges, give them a chance to create some distance from them, invite more creative thinking within your organization, and significantly improve the quality of your output.