In today’s hyper-connected digital world, face-to-face communication with your employees and key stakeholders is a powerful tool—especially when it comes to developing strategic initiatives and a vision for your company.

Let’s face it, the days of meeting behind closed doors to decide what your organization is going to do for the next 3-5 years is pretty last century. We think business today requires a more collaborative approach. A key turning point actually took place in the 70s when Bill Hewlett and David Packard would get out among employees to obtain a view of the organization, which was then popularized by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman in the early 80s as Management by Walking Around (MBWA).

So, with a nod to Messrs. Hewlett, Packard, Peters and Waterman, we’d like to propose a companion notion—Full Circle Strategy, or “strategy by talking around.” Here are some compelling reasons to include this approach in your next strategic planning process:

1. Intelligence

As the Japanese proverb states, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” We live in an age where information is plentiful but the time to digest it is scarce. We all have to be selective about what sources we follow and where we choose to dive deeper in our knowledge acquisition. Engaging more people means also leveraging their unique learning networks.

2. Diversity

Senior leadership teams in most organizations tend to be fairly homogeneous, sharing similar demographics and backgrounds. An inclusive strategy process can add both multi-cultural and multi-generational perspectives. For example, a lot is being written about the Millennial generation, but one of the most compelling facts is that, as a group, they are nearly the same size as the Baby Boomers. In sheer numbers alone, they present a tremendous market opportunity. Incorporating their viewpoints will be critical to shaping a future-focused strategy and helping to uncover innovative products, emerging trends and new approaches.

3. Customer-focus

A recent PwC study found that 63% of CEOs list building a customer-centric organization as a top three investment priority. Involving actual customers and/or those employees who have the most direct contact with them is essential to shaping the appropriate strategy.

4. Engagement

Who doesn’t like to feel included in the decisions that impact them on a daily basis? Employees who feel they have made a meaningful contribution to a strategy are more likely to be supportive of it, which could lead to better…

5. Execution

Feeling more engaged in the plan increases the commitment to seeing it succeed. And any strategy is only as good as its execution.

For many established organizations, Full Circle Strategy may be a new way of approaching strategic planning. If you think it might be valuable for your organization but are unsure how to start, an external facilitator may be helpful.

A facilitator serves as a neutral party who keeps the discussion on track, removes any perceived barriers between management and staff, and probes for the best thinking of each participant.