In chapter five of her book "The Journey Ahead,” Sandra Wiley makes three very good observations:
- In order for change to occur, someone has to start behaving differently
- The effort to build internal collaboration and a good team starts at the top
- Internal collaboration becomes the glue that holds the firm together/bridges the gap between leadership and employees (us and them)
There has been a considerable amount of change here at Boomer in the 14 years I have been an associate. One overall theme from the ownership has always been progress…not always perfection. This emphasis has provided and encouraged confidence in each associate to progress forward within the company irrespective of their position (no idea is a bad idea thinking). Change is a part of the company model and is accepted and encouraged throughout.
Change is never more evident than leading up to, during and the follow through in our Strategic Planning process. Yes, we eat our own dog food, so to speak. We walk the talk.
Another quote from Sandra’s book is, "True leaders need to be willing to let go.” I have seen this in our leadership. It is quite evident while comparing the Strategic Planning sessions of 10+ years ago to the sessions being planned for this December. From management creating the agenda and directing each session in a much structured manner to a team approach; the current sessions are now planned by a team creating a huge amount of buy-in by all associates. Quoting Sandra, "…we will see a flatter structure to firms in the future,” and, "in firms that are truly collaborative, we will see ideas developed by a group of people from inception rather than 'lone rangers' who operate alone and have to sell their ideas.”
This willingness to let go and let the team collaboration approach thrive has many benefits.
Buy-in and collaboration
By pooling everyone’s ideas, we benefit from "group think” rather than "individual thinking.” This impacts our recruiting and retention of the best when looking to hire a new associate. Younger professionals have grown up collaborating and working in teams; they now expect it. They look for opportunities that afford this work model. If you have not already, you do need to get onboard with the collaboration model.
Utilizing the unique abilities of each team member
At Boomer Consulting we focus on using our unique abilities. We want the Consultants to utilize their unique abilities through revenue generating efforts. Take Sandra for instance. (Yes, I'm picking on you Sandra!) One of her unique abilities is listening to a situation, evaluating the information, summarizing and providing professional recommendations. Bottom line, she is good at team building and strategic thinking; and speaking to these issues. It never fails to amaze me when I see her in action. Just as leaders need to focus and use their unique abilities; likewise so do we, the staff, need to focus and use our unique abilities. At every strategic planning session, at every 90 day accountability review, at every staff meeting, I listen and look for ways to assist the whole team to help them utilize their unique abilities.
A good way determine your unique ability is through the Kolbe A Index, including the use of the Kolbe A to A Report. The A to A Report helps me identify areas of potential conflict or agreement with another person on our team and includes ideas on how to address issues and collaborate. I have reviewed my Kolbe A to A with other team members in preparation to understand and to help progress forward and avoid conflict during our sessions. Understanding and respecting the problem solving methods of how others work can be very beneficial in our strategic planning sessions.
So now, what is the model of strategic planning you follow? Does your team prepare; are you ready to work toward collaboration?