I recently had a wonderful opportunity to facilitate an all-day Clarity Therapy meeting with a small company. We made tremendous progress despite one rather daunting circumstance:
There were 14 of us in the room.
You know how hard it is to get 5 people to agree on anything, right? Or even get them to take turns? Yet here were representatives from all divisions in the company, plus two participants from an outside firm, plus me.
It was a bit scary. But within 15 minutes of starting I knew that it was going to work out; and that confidence had everything to do with the attitudes present in the room.
Here’s what I saw in this group of people that made for a great group brainstorming session:
- Hunger. Recent years had been rough. It was time for a re-boot. And everybody knew that – and wanted it.
- Servant leadership. It was obvious right away that the top person in the company truly wanted group results and buy-in, not some platform to push his own ideas.
- Humility. People deferred to one another, listened to one another, felt free to share. No ego trips. This is such a powerful element of corporate culture, and very rare.
- Smarts. These were experienced, intelligent people with a good grasp of business reality. Their contributions and deliberations were full of insight.
- Loyalty. This was not a group of job-hoppers looking to make some impression. These were people who’d been through the fire together, and who cared about the company, one another, and their customers.
Is it too much to say that successful brainstorming sessions reach all the way back to hiring decisions? Because corporate culture doesn’t just happen by executive fiat or by well-worded mission statements. It comes down to assembling talented, dedicate, like-minded people.
Brainstorming can be an exercise in futility when the atmosphere is choked with egos and agendas. It can also be a wonderful time of real breakthroughs when people feel that they are valued, respected, and in a “safe” place.
Effective brainstorming is more than joining great brains. It’s joining great hearts as well.
Also on the blog: Getting Your Small Business Back on Track
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