There is a valid reason for the hierarchy created within organizations. People have various competencies, responsibilities and skills. As well, a hierarchy makes someone ultimately responsible for organizational goals, operations and more. That said, it does not mean that only the people at the top level of the organization have the best and highest ideas. What could you learn from people from all “walks of life” within your company?
Think about the television show Undercover Boss. Bosses leave their offices to work within the ranks, and to see the business through the eyes of those that work for them. These bosses learn so much about their organization and the people that keep it running. It helps them to learn more about their business, it brings to them new and fresh perspectives and many times helps them appreciate and create an even better organization.
Smaller businesses benefit from House of Genius, which bring entrepreneurs together with “a diverse mix of collaborators from the community for an evening each month of disruptive thinking, supportive input, and creative new ideas.” Entrepreneurs are given 5 minutes to present some of their “pains” when it comes to their business to the collaborators. The collaborators are given time to ask clarifying questions, and then provide ideas, guidance and advice to the entrepreneur. The entrepreneurs are only provided with the first name of those around the table; they do not know full names, companies or titles. This way the entrepreneur will not lend more credence to any of the advice given, for example, they will not pay more attention to advice from the Director of Marketing of such and such organization versus that shared by anyone else. At the end of the session there is a reveal, where everyone shares his or her identities.
Bill Donius, author of Thought Revolution, leads large organizations in Ideation Sessions. He asks them to tap into their inner genius in order to solve problems and provide new direction for the company. Bill often prefers that companies invite everyone into the session; he has witnessed again and again how some of the best ideas do not come from the top level managers, but from the people that work closer to the ground.
The same could be said for our meeting planning. We survey our attendees and exhibitors, but what if we were to survey our employees? What if we were to bring a diverse mix of employees and titles to the table to help us brainstorm our next sales or managers meeting? What if we were to invite some of those people to actually attend a sales or managers meeting and to present their ideas and input about the operations, management and direction of the company? What could we learn?
I would love to know if inclusivity is part of your organization’s mission. Please comment on my Facebook page and tell us how you include everyone in your organization!