Stop making collaboration an initiative. Make it a reality.

Collaboration. Social. Innovation. These are the buzz words that fill my twitter feed today.

This week I have the pleasure of attending a few of our customer internal leadership summits, expos and all hands meetings. These two customers are in completely different industries and do not even remotely compete however the message is very very similar.

Collaboration. 

Seems to me like this buzzword is flying around in organizations today. A few months ago I found out that there are people who have the sole job of a “Collaboration Relationship Manager”. I am not sure if I agree with this or disagree – but I do find it a bit weird. Your role is to help manage the collaboration relationship? Huh?

Recently I finished the book “Organizations Don’t Tweet, People do: A Manager’s Guide to Social Web” by Euan Semple  and learned great lessons throughout the book. One of the key messages that also aligns to this post is not to make “collaboration” an initiative and to really do it. In every project, nook and corner office of your organization find ways to collaborate. To get better, faster and to not settle for the status quo.

Think about your organization today and where would you lie on the scale if you had to actually measure your “collaborative” efforts? What’s the picture that is being painted by management? What are your current barriers to a more collaborative environment?

Semple (p. 70) says, there is “no point in having knowledge if people don’t know you have it, and if you are not prepared to share it .. “

If you really believe what Semple says above, what tools, resources and guidance are in place to share freely in your organization? Social platforms and tools like Yammer help “to increases the quality and frequency of the conversations that get your job done (p. 107).”

But in reality, what is collaboration all about?

Semple (p.132) defines collaboration,

True collaboration is a succession of … small examples of the willingness to help another person….Collaboration is a shared willings to address problems or opportunities and often to contribute hard won personal experience to doing so. You want there to be as few barriers to collaboration as possible.

Don’t turn collaboration into an initiative but make it easier to do so. Dont talk about doing it but instead increase the frequency and quality of those conversation that get your job done. Don’t just think that you will naturally be wiling to collaborate on your next project, just do it. 

 

What does your organization look like in terms of “collaboration”. What are YOU doing in order to make your self more collaborative? What’s holding you back?

Leave me a note – would love to hear all about it.

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