Collaborate to survive


Understanding why collaboration is important in the business world is one thing, but putting it into practice is another.  Just because you, or your team understand the importance of collaboration across the organisation - it doesn’t mean everyone will.  So how can you encourage others, to adopt and help make collaboration possible in your organisation?

When collaboration is missing

Perhaps looking at what happens when successful collaboration isn’t at play, is a good place to start.  Take Boeing for example, who saw its brand new fleet of 787 Dreamliner grounded after multiple failures, including fires.  An article in Forbes states experts claimed the string of failures ‘stemmed from mismanaged relationships with its outsourcing partners.’

Miscommunication, mismanagement and misunderstanding are three fundamental problems that can arise when collaboration is not enabled.  Encouraging cooperative sharing of information and innovative ideas is crucial to building a successful organisation.  And to make that happen, its been proven that trust in the workplace is imperative.  In fact, a study by IBM states that the key factor in establishing ‘strong employee relationships and knowledge sharing is trust.’

The importance of trust

If employees trust one another, and their managers, its the first grounding step to building a collaborative and productive workforce where ideas are shared and listened to, and products are created and sold.  Conversely, if there is a lack of trust between staff of all levels, communication will suffer and problems could start to arise.  Trust doesn’t just apply to the people within your organisation - it applies to your customers too.  Have trust in them, and very often, you’ll get that trust back. 

Kodak, is a well known example of an industry leading giant, who failed to trust in its customers, or indeed its own products.  The once household name in photography, created the first digital camera, back in 1975.  However they held back from launching it, for fear of putting a dent in a market they were doing so exceedingly well in.  There are many theories as to where the blame within Kodak lay, whether it was product development, marketing or design - but it boils down to a lack of collaboration within the organisation, a lack of trust in the internal knowledge that created the product and a lack of trust in the customer, who most likely would have walked the digital journey with its trusted friend Kodak, had they not allowed Sony et al to work quickly, seize the opportunity, and now dominate the market today. 

Keep the simple things possible

Perhaps the most powerful lesson to take from these examples from hugely successful organisations is that no matter how well an organisation is doing, it just takes one or two simple things to stop happening, for disaster to strike.  Ensuring that consistent communication is possible within an organisation, that everyone’s voice can be heard and concerns can be raised in an organised manner, could have prevented either one of these situations to arise.  Believing in their  team’s talents and encouraging collaboration to ensure the correct route to marketing was taken,  could have led to a very different future for Kodak. 

If you are looking at encouraging anyone in your organisation to take part in or enable collaboration, why not get in touch and have a chat with one of the team.

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