Alignment through group creativity.
When confronting change or critical situations, encouraging a team to co-create may sound like a recipe for caos but done professionally it produces powerful cohesion.
Enhancing the performance of individual team members by aligning their endeavours with business goals is fundamental in many roles. In marketing, for example, individual performance and alignment within the team can have a huge impact on their results. The fact that marketing must collaborate with many other functions compound the alignment problem.
Mandating alignment and collaboration is rarely effective. On a philosophical level all staff will agree that they share an interest in the health and success of the company where they work or at a minimum a desire to keep their job. On a practical level the diverse interests and capabilities of different functions and individuals means their approach to supporting the health and success of the company may differ greatly and even be contrast with each other.
Co-creation is a very effective methodology for aligning individuals and teams to strategic goals. By tasking groups of people with finding solutions to specifically devised exercises we empower them to focus on solutions. By confronting a problem with colleagues in a way that is different than their usual collaboration they can comprehend a problem from diverse points of view, not just that of their given function. The co-creators share their own experience, learn from the experience of colleagues and feel co-ownership of the outcome of the co-creation session, leading to better motivation, comprehension and alignment.
Take for example the popular customer centric approach. If each function takes a unique customer centric approach that examines only the relationship of their function with the client what the client will actually experience is a series of disconnected relationships (even if they are individually excellent) from a single brand. By running cross-functional co-creation sessions that focus on the customer collectively the functions can comprehend the customer experience from all the internal points-of-view.
Another common alignment problem arises when groups merge. Whether due to restructuring or acquisition the amalgamation of skills and culture is very delicate and staff can easily lose self-esteem and motivation. Co-creation can successfully help groups integrate and, within a given framework, quickly develop effective functional relationships that recognise excellence. By giving a group some level of self-determination over enforced changes can restore people’s basic need to feel useful and in control.
Co-creation is a group experience, that can unlock innovation, motivate individuals and align teams. Through creative exercises that are custom designed toward business objectives a group can produce outcomes that are pragmatically functional for the company and emotionally satisfying for the participants. That’s a tall order for executive orders.