As you emerge from your planning session with your fellow agency business owners, it looks like you’ve built an aggressive plan – 100% income growth, win 10 new major clients, hire 10 more staff and install a helter-skelter between floors. Now, who’s writing the charts for tomorrow’s staff meeting?

Perhaps it’s a great plan. Perhaps it aligns really well to the needs of the business. Perhaps the helter-skelter will even be used beyond the first week. But perhaps you’ve omitted to build in inputs from everyone else in the business and to align your ideas with their own.

We see this in most agency and marketing team planning exercises. As Simon Sinek would say – beware of “starting with the what”. Before we get into too many of those numbers it might be wise to clarify what the company’s purpose really is. Why did the founders start the agency? What is the marketing team actually for? And how well is that stated purpose borne out by what we do every day, and with the personal values of the employees (and clients) who are attracted to the business?

The simple twist of reflecting first on your company and individual purpose (the “Why”) helps frame a very different set of conversations. One that respects and celebrates the fact that people come to work with different views of the world, with different aspirations and with different development needs.

To harness this opportunity takes trust, openness and authenticity. If you really DON”T want others to contribute to your business planning – don’t try to fake it. When it works it’s a beautiful thing – you’ll help ensure:

A broader and richer set of insights that are probably more reflective of the people you are trying to serve
Plans that are owned by all, and that don’t simply float down from the boardroom to the waste basket
Fewer awkward silences in company meetings when you ask for any questions…
Furthermore this helps us become more resilient (as individuals and teams), more in tune with our clients and more interesting.

Helter-skelter optional…

Written by Pete Jakob, Partner at The Magnus Club, process and marketing specialist