How to Boost Employee Engagement and Sustainable Business Growth

09. December 2019

LinkedIn Article Dec 9, 2019

50th birthday – time to start something new

On Sunday the 7th December 1969, my humble self, called “Heli”, was born. Nomen est omen – the name is program – 50 years later, I increasingly take a helicopter-perspective in my private and professional life. On my 50th birthday, I am still a Sunday’s child, and excited to boost employee engagement coupled with sustainable business growth through a process called Integrated Business Planning (IBP). IBP is a process that is valuable for any business, but I wonder: Why are many corporate companies still struggling with implementing an IBP process that really takes off? IBP is often a bureaucratic monster rather than an enabler that inspires teams to raise their business to maximum altitude.

Don’t forget the people!

Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP), was invented in the late 1980’s. S&OP was a fantastic business planning process, which has further evolved into the cross-functional Integrated Business Planning (IBP) process and improved system capabilities with the rise of the internet and sophisticated planning software. There has been a great focus on process and systems, but (!), there has been little focus on improving the soft “people” factors and incorporating new learnings around personal and organisational development for better communication, decision-making, and conflict resolution. We have seen the evolution of exciting and powerful new concepts such as Mindfulness, Non-Violent-Communication and Self-Managing Organisations, none of which have been incorporated into IBP as yet.

Don’t change your business to create a successful IBP, change your IBP to create a successful business!

Cross-functional IBP participants often argue that a good IBP is not possible because of business challenges such as short-term focus, silo-thinking, top-down corporate decisions made far away from customers, overload of administrative functions, lack of transparency, personal agendas, and low employee engagement. According to a recent Gallup report “Globally, 85% of employees are either not engaged or are actively disengaged at work.”

It is all about soft skills

Embedding soft skills into the IBP process will enable IBP teams to overcome the hurdles, whilst driving employee engagement and sustainable business growth. Better awareness, communication, decision-making and conflict resolution skills applied in line with integrated business planning can make all the difference.

My IBP vision on a birthday cake

My birthday cake shows how I imagine this will come together: The helicopter and the three ships symbolize values that revolutionize the IBP approach and will drive sustainable organisational & cultural development.


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In IBP we should always take the “big picture” perspective to holistically understand and balance personal needs, customer needs, stakeholder needs and business requirements.

“The big picture doesn’t just come from distance; it also comes from time.” (Simon Sinek)

“Thought Leader”-Ship

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In IBP emotions are valuable, and we should accept and leverage the power of emotions to enable improvements. On the other side, the emotions should not take over – human thinking leads decision-making.

“With every choice you make, be conscious of what need it serves.” (Marshall B. Rosenberg)

“Bottom-Up Entrepreneur”-Ship

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IBP decision-making processes and transparent communication are a catalyst to ingrain empowerment into the organisation and unleash the full potential of all employees.

“When trust is extended, it breeds responsibility in return.” (Frederic Laloux)

“Synergistic Partner”-Ship

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In IBP conflict resolution the discussion should be less about “Who is right? Who is wrong?” but rather “What are our needs? What is our best strategy?”

“Synergy is better than my way or your way. It’s our way.” (Stephen Covey)

I am currently finalizing a program that will enable companies to move closer to this vision by embedding enhanced IBP. Better purpose alignment. Better communication. Better conflict resolution. Better decision-making. All while boosting employee engagement and sustainable business growth!

I am curious to see your comments about your experience, ideas for the future, and thoughts about collaboration around this vision. If you would like to be included in future communication about the journey, please connect with me via LinkedIn.

More to come!

#IBP #emotionalintelligence #selfdevelopment #corporateculture #inclusion #switzerland #heliblick