The conference room was packed as Jim and I walked in for our normal weekly sales meeting. The sales team was huddled around the coffee station in the back.
“Alright everybody. Thanks for coming. Let’s get started.”
For the next 10 minutes, Jim laid out the perceived problem for his team. I saw some shift in their seats, some dart their eyes around the room, and others nod in agreement.
Jim had come to me a week ago, with the problem that the processes that had brought them success in the past were not being followed consistently. Jim has done regular observation visits to various locations and helps the sales teams realize what things they need to improve in their sales system. Jim calls this “process evaporation”. Process evaporation occurs when different parts of the system do not happen consistently because it has not yet become a habit. Over time, it becomes costly to both the individual and the organization.
“It’s like they all forget what works. It seems when things get moving fast… or moving slow… the execution of all the steps gets sloppy. Process evaporation!”
Jim wanted to see if Collective IQ by the team would provide a better solution. So that morning in the conference room, the leader of the company ran his team through a Collective IQ experiment to root out why process evaporation was happening and how to fix it. (*Collective IQ is the idea that together we can create better ideas than we can alone.)
The 5-step experiment went as follows:
1. Divide into teams of 5. / Each team of 5 chooses a scribe to record the group’s ideas.
2. Part I = DIALOGUE (5 minutes)
a. Explain the goal of DIALOGUE is to expand your thinking – not to decide an answer.
b. Try to understand how others are thinking and see if your perspective can expand to other possibilities.
c. 5 minutes of brainstorming on
i. Why process evaporation is happening.
ii. Each member contributes / participates in some way.
3. Part II = DISCUSSION (3 minutes)
a. The group picks one Why? reason.
b. Brainstorm for options that could solve it.
c. Decide on one option to implement – and define the steps to implement.
d. Solve as many of the Why? reasons as you can in 3 minutes.
4. Report by team
a. One reason for process evaporation.
b. One solution to that reason – and how to implement the solution.
5. Hand in team lists.
Jim told me later that the ideas generated in that meeting blew him away. The team produced ideas that had never crossed his mind. He even expressed some regret about not having mined his rockstar team for ideas before.
“I felt a little foolish. Here I had this team of the best and brightest sales minds in the state, and I had never thought to ask them to provide solutions.”
Jim said this Collective IQ experiment is now a regular part of their monthly sales meeting. They take 20 minutes at the beginning of each meeting to innovate as a group. His team has total buy-in now when they roll out a new process. He suspects it’s because they know they have an upcoming opportunity to iterate if it’s ineffective.
As a business consultant specializing in Collective IQ, I’ve witnessed the power of Collective IQ to transform company cultures again and again.
Give it a shot.
Onward and Upward,