How HP and the Celtics Teach Collective Input

July 19, 2015
Paul LaRue

Collaboration, or the process of collective input, in making key organizational decisions requires openness and the right culture.

Perhaps the most well known application of collective input is from Hewlett-Packard. Their culture and systems – known as “The HP Way” – gives all levels of staff, from product managers to lab leaders, guidelines for this type of collaboration.

In order to foster innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, technological contribution, profitability, and employee engagement, HP set parameters in place for their people to bring forth new product ideas. The team then argue for – and against – products that would or wouldn’t meet these criteria. If the resulting decision would meet the financial, technological, and team spirit of the company, then they could charge forward. If not, then the product was set aside and a new one was pursued.

In a similar vein, the Boston Celtics have currently set up an collective input process for selecting talent and developing their team. In the throes of a rebuilding process, the team has incorporated a culture that promotes many of the same principles as does HP.

From Danny Ainge, the president of basketball operations, to the assistant general manager, director of player development, and even head coach Brad Stevens and his staff, there is a tight-knit group that works towards the best interest of building a better team.

As they approach the NBA draft time, each person composes a list of the talent they want to pursue. The team then argues for, and against, their own picks and encourages open input on each potential draftee from everyone in the group. If they feel a player does not compliment, or enhance, the team, then they set that person aside and move forward to the next draftee.

They look beyond the impact one player makes to the team by looking to the overall impact the entire draft will make, and how the Celtics front office did in evaluating these players as they get selected throughout the league and perform in the pros. In so doing, they can assess their ability to qualify players and continuously improve their selection process.

This culture, they feel, is essential to ensure that the Celtics organization looks at talent from every possible angle, and that anyone of their people possess the ability to move the team forward. It’s the same culture that HP has successfully fostered for decades.

While there is no magic formula or guarantee of success in any product HP develops, or any player that the Celtics acquire, what makes them more successful in the long run is their commitment to bring their collective minds together and harness the overall talent and knowledge of their people.

The best organizations create a collective culture in order to bring out the best results.

How have you collaborated with your team to bring about better results? Share your stories by leaving a comment!

More From Paul LaRue

Only One Thing You Need to Succeed as a Leader

Why You Should Recognize Efforts, Not Just Results

How to Take a Stand for Your Values

Paul LaRue is the creator of The UPwards Leader and Instigator for Lead Change Group. His background in senior leadership,. strategic planning, culture change, and people and organizational development gives him unique insight into the workings of successful organizations. Paul has given speeches and training sessions for many public and private entities and stresses the virtue of a culture that centers around core values and character in leadership.

You may also like

Join the conversation