The Collaboration Imperative

I just finished Integrity by Dr. Henry Cloud and  started reading “The Collaboration Imperative – Executive Strategies for Unlocking Your Organization’s True Potential” by Ron Ricci and Carl Wiese.

First – thank you to the Collab Partner Summit team for the autographed copy!

I’m really excited to digest the content in this book especially after reading the Executive Summary on p16 that articulates my strong belief better than I’ve been able to. It reads:

Improved Collaboration represents your best opportunity to tap the full range of talents of your people, move with greater speed and flexibility, and compete to win over the next decade.

Building a collaborative organization requires a transformative approach to culture, process and technology – along with an unwavering  commitment from top to bottom. If you foster a culture that encourages collaborative  behaviors, put processes in place to help people work better together and adapt technologies that facilitate collaboration, your efforts will be rewarded with an energized organization that can adapt quickly to changing markets and deliver results.

While I feel that is an excellent summary, I wanted to touch on a couple points from my perspective.

1.  “the next decade” – This underlies what I feel people (especially those who are paid commission on a SKU) forget.  Collaboration is not a light switch that I can install into an organization.  It is a platform (as a smart guy who pretends to not be a smart guy I work with says).  Furthermore, it is a culturally enabled (or disabled) platform.  If your culture is a fit for collaboration from day 1 then great.  If it is not a fit day 1, then there needs to be a process in place to till the soil of your organization’s culture to make it ready to sow the seeds – and ultimately reap the benefits of collaboration.

2.  “unwavering commitment from top to bottom” – I can’t say how true this is.  I don’t need to – Ricci and Wiese are more traveled and wiser than I – and they say it (so there!)  Collaboration within an organization will fail as a grassroots skunkworks project.  It needs to be a commitment to the culture, process, and tools that enable collaboration from the top down.

My closing thought is actually touched on later in the chapter – collaboration is a years long initiative (I would project 1-5 years depending on the existing culture to really get it going).  Once it gets going however, it will pick up steam until the organization is transformed.  If you get started too late on this you are going to be WAY behind your competition, and they will only pick up steam and get further ahead – and more able to connect with and serve your former customers.  Get started now.

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