360 of an Idea: The Future of Decision-Making

Many of the best-run businesses conduct 360 degree reviews on their employees, where input is collected from fellow colleagues in order to evaluate, provide feedback and compensate based on performance.  At Gravitas, we have begun integrating this 360 concept into our decision-making process.  By conducting a 360 analysis of important ideas generated, Gravitas systematically evaluates solutions from many different angles to ensure that the best decision – and outcome -- is reached.  In doing so, we promote a flat organizational structure that empowers our employees to participate in important decision-making, driving both employee and firm performance.

Decisions and ideas are typically steered by those with authority and power who have a vested interest in what decision is being made.  Often times, companies have found that in hindsight they may have chosen a different path that would have led to a better outcome.  When this relates to important decisions such as opening a foreign office, launching a new offering or hiring a key executive, the impact can be enormous – and the best insights may come from others who offer different perspectives. 

At a planning session for our annual mid-year offsite, I gathered a small group of Gravitas colleagues to collect their views on this year’s offsite agenda.  After adding to and deleting from the previous year’s agenda, we extended the conversation to other team members.  As we continued to pool feedback on the revamped discussion topics, it became evident that our agenda lacked clarity on what it was that we even wanted to achieve.  The 360 analysis of what the offsite agenda should be led us to focus on one idea – reliability; and we subsequently spent the offsite talking about getting 100% of our clients referenceable by year-end.  From September to November, our client referenceability shifted from below 50% to 90% – and we still have December to go!  Had we not conducted a 360 analysis, who knows what our referenceability would be!

In hindsight, we did the below without necessarily being aware of the process:

  1. Gathered a group of employees to share their views.  It is important to create a safe environment, where everyone feels comfortable expressing their opinions.
  2. Discussed and debated the ideas presented. 
  3. Determined the ideas that resonate the most with the group.
  4. Made a decision and executed it.

Implementing a process such as the “360 of an Idea” enables companies to make more strategic business decisions that lead to more successful outcomes.  Furthermore, these more informed decisions are made with more confidence, creating added value for clients.  As we approach 2015, Gravitas plans to roll out this approach firm-wide with a focus on product development and client services.