Can Collaboration Prevail?

Susan of the Lead Change Group asks whether collaboration can prevail:

The abilities to both compete and collaborate are clearly keys to success in today’s world. Yet it seems our education and corporate systems continue to be designed to foster more competition than collaboration.

Being part of the same company or organization does not automatically create an experience of being on the same team. In corporations multidisciplinary and cross functional teams are often formed with the best of intentions and highest of hopes. Yet the culture, fueled by the organizational structure and reward system, significantly impacts just how effective those teams are at collaborating, and can easily become the lid on the potential of the team. In a hierarchical organization structure with an individually driven reward system (or a reward system that unwittingly pits one part of an organization against another), effective collaboration can be very difficult to achieve.

My Comments
1. It’s a good question, and one worthy of serious pondering within your organization.

2. Making collaboration work in an organization environment requires changing many things to align to the new collaboration reality. Susan touches on a key one – what people get rewarded for. You can’t insert a collaboration philosophy into an organization without changing related and impacting elements too.

3. For some helpful thinking and frameworks about making the transition to a collaborative organization, see Morten Hansen’s book, Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results.

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