The Magic of Collaboration

The task of strategic planning can feel overwhelming at times, especially if it is the FIRST time you have attempted to include more than your partner group in the process. I would like to encourage you to push through the fear and make the decision to include more of your team – for them and for YOU.

I recently facilitated a firm-wide strategic planning session with a five-partner, 20-member firm in California. They are a fantastic firm, with partners that genuinely care about their team and the future of the firm. They knew that they needed to take a more strategic approach to building a plan, and the original thought was to have only partners meet for a couple of days and knock out a plan.

I encouraged them to use a more collaborative model, and invite their entire team to participate. They were open to the idea, but were a little concerned about how the process would work. After two days of conversation, idea generation and friendly debate, the partners of the firm made a few terrific discoveries:

The Team was Aligned

There was some concern that the staff would be on one page and the partners would be on another. That was not the case. The ideas generated by the group were built in tandem. At the end of the planning session, everyone agreed that it felt like they were of one mind. 

The Staff had New and Good Ideas

To be honest, the fact that they had good ideas was not a surprise, but the fact that they had this forum to express those ideas was good for everyone – staff, partners and overall firm. The partners agreed that stopping work long enough to really listen and communicate made the entire event worth the time and dollars spent. 

The Energy is Off the Chart

We often spend time and money trying to motivate our team. This collaborative event that enabled everyone to have a voice was more motivating than any other single initiative that they had tried in the past. Once again, this proves that the team you surround yourself with is aching to be heard and to hear from you. 

Is collaboration magic? Maybe not magic, since it does take a lot of work and commitment. However, the end result will feel like you waved a magic wand and found the voices and motivation for many on your team. 

About the Author

Sandra Wiley

Sandra Wiley

Sandra Wiley, president and shareholder at Boomer Consulting, Inc., is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting, as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training, as well as influence as a management and strategic planning consultant. Sandra developed the P3 Leadership Academy and hosts regional training around the country. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.

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