I’ve been working with a leadership team and one of the topics we were discussing was collaboration. There are six leaders on the team, and each of them has a particular function that they are in charge of. Of course, they are siloed in terms of having responsibility for their particular area. Nevertheless, because they are the leadership team of this particular operation they also need to work across the silos and therefore there is a huge, or rather large requirement for them to collaborate.
So we started talking about collaboration, and I thought that I would share some of the things we talked about as a way of adding value to you. My assumption is, as leaders, you will need to get people in your organisations to collaborate.
Let’s just kick off by first defining what collaboration is. There are different ways, and different definitions of collaboration. One of the things that I really like about collaboration, is that it’s a process that brings a group of people together to explore ideas, and search for solutions that extend beyond one’s own limited vision.
It’s really around how do we bring groups of people together? How do we brainstorm? How do we get better ideas? Then how do we actually execute them? A topic we also discussed was why collaborate? What are the benefits of collaboration? And here are some of the things we talked about. One is, collaborating challenges you to actually articulate what you’re great at and what you do poorly. Therefore, you need to have a discussion that has a level of honesty about your strengths and weaknesses, because that then forces you to ask for help in areas where you need help.
Another benefit of collaboration is that you’re bringing more resources, in terms of talent, experience, infrastructure, finance et cetera. Thus, it’s a more effective way of problem solving. You’re obviously going to convert energy from many people coming together, it’s actually leveraging differences, leveraging on diversity. Of course, you know collaboration helps you find better and more efficient ways to achieve your goal. Fundamentally you look at coming to a solution in a shorter time.
I think the final point around collaboration and why it’s a useful organisational tool, or way of thinking in organisations, is that it actually helps organisations become learning organisations. In other words they learn how to innovate quicker, they learn how to build on mistakes, and they look at how to be future focused.
What’s the reflection point at the end of this story? As leaders, look at your teams and perhaps look across the organisation, and ask yourself, are there groups of people you can bring together to collaborate on certain projects? Once you bring them together how do you then ensure you collaborate attain the best results from that group of people?