Brainstorming for the Future?
A new year is on the horizon, a time when traditionally business leaders are starting to think about how to implement all the fantastic strategies they have planned for 2019. In coffee shops and boardrooms up and down the country, Entrepreneurs and Executives are writing marketing plans and creating Gantt charts ready to impress peers, investors and shareholders. How many of these companies ask existing staff for contributions and thereby promote a straight talking company culture. All this activity has an important place in evolving organisations, but where do the ideas come from? Is the time spent understanding our place in the market productive? Are the businesses of Britain brainstorming for the future or just filling bytes of space to show they understand how to put a plan together?
A Culture of Inclusion
Companies may be in danger of missing out on some of the brightest, forward thinking and innovative brains already embedded in existing teams across the country. All levels of the company should be participating in planning activity, promoting a culture of togetherness and not alienating the workforce, where disgruntled employees see their role primarily as delivering the poorly thought through plans and strategies of more senior colleagues. Employees crave a voice, and companies that allow a platform for these pioneers will benefit from a variety of ideas and result in loyal staff that find a sense of purpose in their daily tasks. Clearly small companies have limited resources and staff to draw on and so business planning stems very much from the passion of the owners or senior management team. Ideas that have been grown from an early belief that being self-employed would be fulfilling and worthwhile as well as an enormously frustrating journey. Larger organisations can create working groups, arrange away days, cover the training room in colourful mind maps and make futuristic Plasticine models of what the company might look like in 5 years. Whether a sole trader or corporate machine, doing something is far better than trusting in the notion that if we build it they will come. Whatever the origin, a clear delivery path will be needed to show how each step might be implemented over a specified time period. Research has regularly highlighted the importance and benefits of setting goals, important not just for emerging entrepreneurs and business owners but also for personal development across all demographics.
Planning is Crucial
Many cite the famous, if sometimes questioned, Harvard or Yale studies that show 3% of graduates who have their goals written down, ended up earning ten times as much as the other 97% put together just 10 years later. Setting the goal is important, making time to review progress, amend or adjust how it is rolled out increases the likelihood of success. Responsibility for delivery should fall to everyone, making sure the expected outcomes are communicated with purpose and employees can see the benefits not only to the company but also to themselves.
Encourage and Delegate
Thought leaders have a duty to allow colleagues from all levels of the organisation to have a voice. If there are plans to set up a new customer facing area, include the cleaners on the working group to really understand the impact of this on the company. Supervisors and team leaders will then take on and develop more of the planning tasks, leaving managers to guide, encourage and delegate to colleagues’ strengths. The culture of a company, and how it is perceived by employees will then play an important role in customer satisfaction, future referrals and genuine testimonials.