Why you should say goodbye to the Hippo effect

We take a look at why including all staff in business planning can help take firms to the next level.

In most businesses, responsibility for the most important decisions is generally left to the highest-paid person’s opinion – the Hippo effect.

However, a business owner or manager may not fully understand what is going on across the firm. If he or she is involved in overseeing and developing the business, their exposure to what is actually happening across lower levels may be limited. The result can be a blind spot.

Unfortunately, when business owners or managers lack insight into the entire firm, there may be negative effects. Their limited perspective can reduce the quality of their decision making and business planning, leading to disengaged staff, less productivity and critically impacting customer service.

Planning is a team effort, which is why it’s a good idea for management teams to make the time to step back and examine their business through employees’ eyes.

The importance of engaging staff for business planning

Good people are essential to the ongoing success of any business and they have first-hand experience of the business’ strengths and weaknesses. Their insights can shed light on issues that may be compromising the firm’s profitability and productivity. Just talking to staff to find out their thoughts about how the business is run can help build trust and also help towards:

  • highlighting where the business is performing well
  • identifying potential operational areas that could be made more efficient
  • gathering ideas to run a more profitable business

Another benefit of engaging all employees in business planning is that it can motivate them to become more involved in the firm’s future direction and success. When staff contribute to finding answers for challenges within a business, they may also become more willing to take ownership for implementing solutions.

Making improvements to the business, such as better use of resource, can allow a firm to create the additional scale and capacity needed to take it to the next level. 

Support with business planning

When it’s time to make changes and incorporate a new and modern approach to planning, it can be difficult to know where to turn. An unbiased third party can help management take a fresh look, highlighting areas of strength as well as identifying weaknesses that could be hindering future success and profitability.

Working with an external business adviser to develop new approaches can give firms a greater chance of success – and make sure that important decision making draws upon the wisdom and expertise of staff at all levels, instead of immediately defaulting to the highest-paid person’s opinion.

Standard Life accepts no responsibility for advice that may be formulated on the basis of this information.

The views expressed in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice

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