Member Erin Mendez Speaks: Involve (All) Your People in Strategic Decisions

The Challenge:

The case at hand case was brought by a CEO who had recently been brought in to restructure a struggling company. He was aiming to gain insight into presenting strategic changes to the company in a way that would make the transition smooth and effective.

If you were in this situation, what would you do?

If I were in your shoes, I would include employees at every level of the company before embarking on a new strategy. In my experience, I’ve found that employees throughout my organization can give creative and detailed input, often highlighting things I’ve missed because I’m looking at the bigger picture.

In my experience, the vast majority of employees will rise to the challenge when you have a strategic hurdle to overcome. I never underestimate the importance of having everyone at all levels of the company understand the “why.” An effective approach is to focus on what needs to be accomplished, what the vision is, what it feels like and looks like in the end, and then involve your employees into brainstorming the “how.” I like to bring my company together in all-hands meetings and tell them what I see strategically and why. To me, it matters. It’s fruitful to challenge them to come up with different ways of thinking about the challenge. I find that the best default for good results is radical inclusion.

When leadership teams are honest and transparent with the company, employees recognize that and appreciate being a contributor and part of the solution. Depending on the problem, any brain can rise up and be incredibly creative. Recently, we were trying to find a solution to a problem, and we discovered someone— not in management— who had an incredible idea that ended up materializing into the solution we needed. It’s amazing what can manifest when one involves the depths of the organization.