You've heard the story of the boss who has two rules: Rule #1 The Boss is Always Right. Rule #2 When the boss is wrong, refer to Rule #1.
In many companies this time of year for annual planning revolves around one person making plans, usually the president or owner(s). The reason this occurs is often multiple. First the business owner started the business and in order for the business to grow it’s always been dependent upon him/her to make the plans. Another reason is that getting input from others takes time, precious time that many owners and company presidents don’t have or don’t care to take. Habits are hard to break. Setting directives and being in a commanding if not dominate position has worked in the past. It’s decisive, impactful, quick, and if it’s gotten results in the past there’s no reason to change.
As your business grows however the problem with this one person or small group making all the decisions on direction, objectives, and priorities is its limited ability to take into account all the obstacles and challenges that your priorities might face.
In How Deep Do You Dig we discussed Todd Klein, “Built for Change” authors disclosure at Phoenix Growth Summit suggesting successful companies he identified went deeper in their discovery process for their planning then companies in their peer group.
Collective Intelligence is an integral part of meeting rhythms and the practice of Strategic Discipline. Collective Intelligence is including your executive team and important contributors in the process of planning, strategizing, and solving problems. It should be a weekly exercise in your weekly meeting rhythms. If you are practicing this, then the process of annual planning should naturally include these members to formulate your plan for 2012.
Collective Intelligence results in better planning because your people, who know the landscape, recognize the bottlenecks and challenges that can derail priorities. They can offer insights and feedback on the length of time it may require to reach an objective. They can tell you why forecasting achieving a specific goal may be premature or possibly can be reached more quickly with the right resources.
Furthermore including your team in planning and strategizing for the year brings with it the likelihood they’ll have more ownership and accountability to achieving the results. In this evolving environment it’s also one of the critical ways to retain your best people by getting them involved in decision making.
You’ve hired the people in your business for a reason. If you’re collecting a staff that is sharp, achievement oriented, and committed to your success make sure you tap into the resources and investment you made. Include them in your annual planning process and then make sure you are continuing to mine this asset, its capabilities and talents consistently through collective intelligence in your weekly meeting rhythms.