Great Leadership is all about tapping into the collective intelligence within your organisation.
What do we mean by “Collective Intelligence”?
Collective intelligence is basically the knowledge, experience, views and opinions held by everyone who works for your company. Too often its thought that the people at the top of an organisation should have all the answers but the best leaders realise that this isn’t the case and actively seek input from their employees and really listen to their answers. It’s simply common sense that say, 100 heads are better than 5!
How would you do this?
Let’s start by saying how not do this. You can’t tap into the collective intelligence of your workforce by asking them to complete some kind of survey. The key is to get them face to face in groups having meaningful conversations about issues that matter to them.
The participatory leadership skills required will include creating a safe space for these conversations to take place, framing the questions well in order for rich discussion to follow and ensuring a good cross-section of people are invited to attend.
Using skilled facilitators with knowledge and experience of participatory techniques such as World Cafe and Open Space Technology can also be very useful and ensure that the output from the discussions is valuable.
Finally, its essential that you people quickly get feedback after participating in these discussions so that they can see that they’ve had an influence.
Why Would You Do This?
There are a host of good reasons to work in this collaborative way;
- Decision making is improved because they’re based on a lot more information
- Innovation and creativity rise
- This leads to higher levels of employee engagement as people feel they are being listened to
- The overall outcome is that company performance and employee well-being both increase
I’ve recently finished facilitating a set of workshops with employees who are moving into a new employee owned company. Rather than the board or the management team deciding how this new company will operate we sought input from those on the front-line and their team leaders. We asked questions on purpose, values/behaviours, how information should be shared, what key issues they felt they should be consulted on and how rewards should be distributed. During an Open Space section of the workshop participants got an opportunity to raise any topics that they felt were important and were then able to discuss these with other colleagues.
The result is that we have a rich output of information that we can take forward as the new company is shaped.
Find Out More
Please contact me if you’d like to discuss how I can help you tap into the collective intelligence within your organisation.