Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Collective Wisdom – Power to Generate Solutions

Over the past 22 years of my interactions with top executives, I have noticed that most of them never realize the knowledge and expertise exist within their own organizations.

Often stuck in issues such as decline in sales, increasing production losses/costs, staffing, branding etc, they look outside the organization by hiring an “Independent Consultant” for advice.

I ask them why an outside Consultant? You have people who know the company, product and customers. They look at me with blank faces and say “That’s the best practice” or there is any other way out?

Neglecting the wealth of internal knowledge and expertise, most businesses end-up paying massive amount of consultation fee for advice that is often too expensive to implement. Smaller business can’t afford that fee and either vanish or go into deep trouble.

One of the most effective way to overcome issues mentioned above is by encouraging staff and senior management to get engaged in creative discussions focusing Issues-vs-Solutions.

Nothing can beat the power of “Collective Wisdom”. By effective interactions between the staff and senior management, the knowledge and insight gained is invaluable. It not only helps identify solutions to major issues, but also create ownership among staff and boost morale.

Process is easy! Find couple of enthusiastic individuals within the organization and ask them to prepare questions relevant to a specific issue for group discussions. Once questions are validated, call group meetings (ideally 10-15 relevant participants), break them into equal groups. In a relaxed environment float questions one-by-one and generate debate. You will soon realize the extraordinary co-creative potential that exists when human beings start close interaction. You will see the energy, bindings and ownership values emerging.

This "Collective Wisdom" generated by group discussions will layout a clearer path towards solutions that are practical to implement describing “How to –and “How not to”.

6 comments:

shabbir Kazmi said...

Sir,
first of all we are not a nation and have no national objectives. At the best we can be termed cluster of people having vested interest. Therefore, we are not interested in attaining collective wisdom. The smarters ones always trying to cheat the less smarterones.

Neelofar Hameed said...

Excellent ...thought provoking...the reason may be that we are a cluster of people with inflated egos...we don't think that one of our colleague individually or a group collectively can out perform our own thinking process.Nations which have trained people to be more realistic always resort to think tanks for their way forward.

Kim Bettcher said...

Of course, I have to agree with you Hammad. The power of democracy is also the power of collective wisdom. Maybe I should change from Knowledge Management Officer to Manager of Collective Wisdom.

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