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Open feedback, as Michele Zanini presented in his hack on 360 feedback, is essential for an adaptable organisation. I would like to suggest a further move into the core of strategic adaptability by inviting all employees to evaluate the strategy as such.
We actually did this some years ago in a Finnish company by asking all employees to evaluate the credibility of
- the management team
- the plan (from industry foresight down to individual compensation)
- the implementation of the plan
All employees, both white and blue collars, had their say, and the results were discussed through with the employees in their teams.
The results of the first round were horrible, but over time the results started to improve, leading to a high commitment and – at least how I saw it – to a more adaptable organisation.
We repeated the survey and the ensuing dialogue roughly once a year, and as you would expect, the improvement started at the management team credibility, moved to the plan and finally to the implementation.
I think the clue was not really the survey as such, but the fact that the management had the nerve to be evaluated by the employees, and that the management ensured that the dialogue was handled properly. People were involved and empowered, and they felt it.
Inviting people to evaluate the strategy does not have to an enterprise wide program in the sense of cumulating the results into corporate summaries. The main thing is to activate the dialogue all over the place.
I've actually used this to very good results. Works well in small firms where there is an expectation of engagement.
However, in US publicly traded firms, there are valid reasons why these discussions are closed.
It would be interesting to spell out a process for this type of corp.
What role would HR play, if any? In my engagements, the process has little to do with HR function.
In the US, HR would not have the credibility to advise on strategy or produce the survey. This is a broad overgeneralization; however, see the top hack: "Eliminate HR." The function has trouble even producing its own metrics-- this is typically outsourced to a consulting firm. Surveys are outsourced to specialists like Kenexa.
On my projects, our team (also a consulting firm of PhDs) first conducted focus groups in the plant locations here and abroad; concepts were then rolled up into themes and the survey was developed around the hot themes.
What is your experience?
Great mini-hack, Eerik! Curious to hear in what way were the results of the first round of discussions "horrible?" Was it that people we holding back feedback (and therefore that there was no effective dialogue) or that the feeback was negative and torrential? In either case, how did management respond and adjust the process?
PS: You might want to read this "open strategy development" case from Red Hat on the MIX:http://www.managementexchange.com/story/democratizing-corporate-strategy...
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