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Ashley Furniture Uses High-Involvement Planning to Up Their Game

Feb 26, 2018 by Patrick Carpenter 0 Comments

When President George W. Bush coined the phrase “strategery,” the whole country laughed.

I actually thought it was a brilliant word for the work we do at the Great Game of Business®.  Like the word strategery, what the Great Game of Business does is a little different. While most companies’ strategic planning practices involve only a handful of department heads, The Great Game focuses on a process we call High-Involvement Planning.  The differences are extreme, both in process and in outcome.  

Recently, I was asked to attend Ashley Furniture’s Leadership Summit to work with key members of their leadership team.  My assignment: to learn their business and introduce our brand of strategery to the participants.  Ashley Furniture’s entire western US leadership team was there.  Keep in mind - this is the number one sales team of the number one furniture retailer in North America. They were recently ranked as one of “America’s Best Employers” by Forbes Magazine.  Let’s face it, Ashley is already a high-performance company. 

The question is, how can they get better? And how do they maintain the growth?  Further challenging them is the issue of how to get record numbers of new employees to understand and buy-in to their culture and strategic-strategery plans.

We’re not talking about just any new employees either, but hundreds and hundreds of millennials - a generation that seeks a higher purpose in their employment and are not afraid to job hop until they find it.  A generation that questions convention, communicates digitally, expects current technology, demands transparency, and is more concerned about the “why” than the “how” of the company. Getting them on board is no easy task.

Ashley, however, is smart. Years ago, they established a culture-coaching team led by internal visionaries Bobby Trujillo and Patrick Brown.  “Coach Bobby” has brought in folks like Grant Cardone, Tim Storey and yours truly, to provide Ashley leadership with the right mix of motivation, culture and execution best practices to keep the company on the trajectory for success.  At this Leadership Summit, we began the process of creating line-of-sight for all employees to the “big picture” plans that the senior leaders had developed.  Using our critical number process we broke down those plans into four perspectives: financial, operational, marketplace and people.  From here we identified lead measures which are driven mainly by the rank and file’s actions.  Armed with these clear drivers to the critical numbers leaders will be able to connect with employee’s needs to know how they relate to the big picture.

Now Ashley can fashion a playbook to help the company really connect with each employee (at the Great Game, we call it “make it stick”).  According to Gallup, this notion of active engagement is nearly non-existent in the work force today, with companies reporting that up to 70% of employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged. 

The good news is that deep down, employees really do care. They want to help the company achieve their goals and they want to win, personally. The key to doing this: they must have “line of sight” to how the company goals affect them, how they affect the company goals, and more importantly, how they can derive meaning from their work.

Like we are doing with Ashley, The Great Game of Business gives managers and leaders the tools to communicate and connect with ALL EMPLOYEES around the strategery that matters most, including the most important financial goals. To do that, employers must commit to consistent, focused communication feedback loops that engage employees, rather than simply instructing or commanding them.

This work can produce great rewards for all involved - rewards that provide meaning and purpose for employees and the employers that truly care about their people.  From my work with Ashley, it is clear they are one company that truly gets it and truly cares!

Author: Patrick Carpenter
Vice President of GGOB
Post Date: 2/26/2018


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Attend the High-Involvement Planning Workshop to dig deeper into how you can use planning to up your Game. Click below to learn more.  

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Topics: Planning

Patrick Carpenter

About The Great Game of Business

Our approach to running a company was developed to help close one of the biggest gaps in business: the gap between managers and employees. We call our open-book approach The Great Game of Business. What lies at the heart of The Game is a very simple proposition: The best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to give everybody in the company a voice in saying how the company is run and a stake in the outcome. Let us teach you how to develop a culture of ownership, where employees think, act and feel like owners.