Collaboration is working together to achieve a goal. In business, it is seen as a way of coordinating different ideas from numerous people to generate a wide variety of knowledge to achieve strategic objectives (wiki).
I like how that sounds. I’ve been watching a lot of cooking shows lately, Everyday Italian, in particular. I marvel at how Giada can use similar ingredients each time, vary one, and come out with amazing, appetizing masterpieces. It inspires me to grab my olive oil, head to the kitchen, and get creative.
Collaboration hits me the same way. Every organization has similar resources: people, capital assets, materials, equipment, technology, time, information/knowledge/ideas, and infrastructure. Each organization determines how they will utilize those resources, whether together or apart, to achieve success. So as a manager, employee and trainer, given the choice, I would choose to be collaborative
What about you? Do you want to be a collaborative leader or would you prefer a more individualistic approach to problem solving and decision making? This is an important question to think about; so go beyond your gut reaction and determine what you are really willing to do as a leader. Your true belief will drive your behavior, and your staff will watch your actions to see if you are just giving it lip service, do it when it is convenient or when someone is watching, or are really willing to work hard to put collaboration into practice. Your preference might have to do with your personality, as well. Extraverts are more drawn to open, free-flowing group discussion and idea-sharing/problem-solving as a way to generate energy and motivation, than Introverts. Introverts are more likely to strive for collaboration in one-on-one sharing of ideas, rather than a group setting. They might prefer more structured collaboration where they know what they can expect from the experience and prepare ahead of time. hits me the same way. Every organization has similar resources: people, capital assets, materials, equipment, technology, time, information/knowledge/ideas, and infrastructure. Each organization determines how they will utilize those resources, whether together or apart, to achieve success. So as a manager, employee and trainer, given the choice, I would choose to be collaborative.
Let’s say you decide you want to be a collaborative manager or supervisor. The next important question to address is: Does your organization support collaboration?
If you aren’t sure, look to the mission and vision statements: do you find words like “teamwork” and “working together” in those documents? What about your immediate manager, senior leadership or president? What does he or she value? Take your time here; do some research and make observations. Look not to just what they say, but observe what they do, and what they reward or recognize.
Alignment of values is key to your success. If your organization doesn’t support collaboration, you will have an extremely difficult time cultivating that environment on your own, and may find that your success and performance are hindered, rather than enhanced, by your efforts. Unfortunately, you could work very hard to create a departmental culture that neither your manager nor your organization finds valuable. A little bit like driving your car the wrong direction around a roundabout – you can do it, but it is confusing for everyone, difficult and risky.
Let’s dig a little bit more into collaboration. Download our NEW 7-s Collaboration model to look at a systematic approach to implementing collaborative measures across your organization: