Unleashing the power of collective wisdom

The power of the whole is bigger than the sum total of the individual parts. The collective wisdom of a group is higher than the wisest people in them.

The fall of the Berlin wall, the recent anti-corruption crusade in India are all examples of the collective wisdom of a group rising together to confront a seemingly insurmountable challenge.

Organizational success like all other social endeavors is achieved when businesses are able to nurture and harness the synergy of people with diverse backgrounds and skill sets.

When employees are able to tap into a common pool of shared individual experiences and ideas, they are able to create superior insights to help the organization. For example, according to a recent article in Forbes magazine by Jacob Morgan, Cisco leverages a collaborative environment to crowdsource issues and requests. This helps them in finding the best and fastest solutions, which makes for a better customer experience.

Despite the enormous potential, however, many organizations are still unable to leverage the benefit of collaborative wisdom.

So what is it that separates successful organizations from others?

  1. They possess a strong and unified purpose – If there is no strong core purpose or goal to inspire and mobilize the team, the team energy can scatter and diminish in strength, leading to a lack of stimulation for the creation of ideas.
  2. Encourage diversity of opinion – People belonging to a different gender, cultures, educational backgrounds and skill-sets bring with them diverse sensibilities and insights, which collectively present a strong knowledge pool. People are not only able to specialize and draw on other people’s local knowledge, imagination, and experience, but also team-generated questions allow for increased creativity.
  3. Create adaptive systems – The scale of change confronting organizations today is huge. Organizational strategies quickly become outdated unless a business develops the culture that supports adaptive and creative planning by gathering insights from different sources to meet continually evolving challenges.
  4. Foster a culture of transparency and openness – Often the fear of expressing an idea contrary to popular opinion, or the need to conform, restrains individuals from expressing themselves freely. An open environment with free flow of information encourages debates and discussions paving the way for the best of ideas to be nurtured and helping people align better with the organizational objective. In addition, this approach also encourages the employee to buy into the organizational objective because each employee participates in its development.
  5. Strong feedback mechanism – A strong 360-degree communication process allows for identifying and linking knowledge to a common pool for use by the entire team. For example, somebody sitting in the Seattle office can access the best practices being curated in the Chicago office.
  6. Strong training and development – Often the best of ideas or insights do not see the light of day because employees lack confidence in their abilities. A strong training and development system can identify and strengthen individual skills, enhance overall group capabilities.
  7. Defer judgment – Group thinking sessions can lead to significant improvement in quality and quantity of ideas generated by employees, provided the employees feel free and uninhibited in expressing themselves. Suspending excessive judgment and encouraging unusual streams of thinking fosters the environment for the creation of a large pool of ideas which can then be distilled to create quality outcomes.

For more ideas for an inspired workplace, read our latest book, ‘What You Seek is Seeking You’ by Azim Jamal & Brian Tracy.

For more details please visit https://blog.corporatesufi.com/books/what-you-seek-is-seeking-you/

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