Controlling the Conversation
It seems that business strategy conversations can circle and circle until you’ve forgotten which way is up and which way is down, especially with large groups. The conversation will meander and ramble and at the end the manager feels great because he believes everyone had their say while everyone else feels their opinions may have been voiced but were not heard. Invariably nothing ever comes out of these types of directionless conversations. It is human nature to want to be heard and to contribute and to desire safety. But too often fear of reprisal and management’s drive to bottom-line profitability can inhibit an empathetic environment that prizes open communications across all department or division boundaries. Combined with the fact that everyone communicates
in different ways and thus requires a certain finesse to directing conversations towards an actionable outcome
. There are four things you should consider about controlling a business strategy conversation to your benefit:
- The brainpower of a team is exponentially more valuable than the individual or even the sum of the individuals. If you can control and direct that thought process then you can harness the exponential power of a group identifying, developing and delivering innovation. When you harness the power of the group, magic happens.
- It is not easy to make a group (especially those larger than 50 people) engage or even communicate in a copasetic manner. This is absolutely true when each individual comes from a different division, geographic location, background, et cetera. So a framework needs to be established that is flexible enough to accommodate differences in communication style (i.e. hashtags for categorization of subject matter) while still providing the boundaries for directional management to uncover actionable agreements (i.e. setting topics not appropriate for this discussion).
- We have talked before on how securing engagement of your team’s energy directed towards a common goal will affect the value of your company in a limitless capacity.It is far better to let the team input their ideas even if they are mirrors to the ones you wanted to present as two benefits become evident: 1) validation that your idea was the best one and 2) the team now feels more invested for engagement because they believed it was their idea (i.e. feel a sense of personal ownership to the ideas).
- Don’t forget that there is even more value if you extend that conversation to include your partners as well as your customers either separately or in various combinations. These audiences can add a unique perspective not bound by your corporate politics or prejudices.
controlling a conversation may take more effort, but not even trying is tantamount to failure. The good news is that there are tools now available
that can facilitate these nuances of control even for groups in the thousands or tens of thousands.