It's a JUNGLE out there! Less Collaboration and more Independence?

As the Americans celebrate their Independence# a thought occurred - have we become more independent# than collaborative#?

Has the pressure to perform and deliver brilliantly on a 24/7 basis, 365 days a year (particularly for those in the middle or high potential categories for succession planning) driven people to literally kill themselves to 'perform'?

The myth of perfection haunts me, probably as it does you. However, it is a myth, an illusion perpetrated by the toughest of tough to those who can't quite seem to match their Herculean capability.

Performance is an individualistic, however useful benchmarks are, that's why targets are personalised, development tailored (or so it should be and sheep dipping avoided) and recognition metered out when a someone succeeds or gets promoted. Yes, we don't operate in a vacuum but is that point been over cooked?

Eastern and Western business philosophy differ greatly here. Team culture is in their DNA and despite many attempts to copy (Toyota is 1 contradictory example) we haven't learned anything from them yet - can you name 3 top business books from Japan?

So how do we overcome this and encourage collaboration. Last December I went to Turin with a group from the Scottish Enterprise Council to look at OPEN INNOVATION.

Innovation doesn't flourish when competitiveness out ranks sharing.

So how we can support and build collaboration and yet still retain our 'Independence'?

Tips for building a collaborative culture:

  1. Have a 'get out of the way' day and put people together with a no rules approach to come up with whatever they want (it's called autonomy by the way).
  2. Set targets that require collaboration not destroy it.
  3. Support with collaboration tools that are properly understood (so much of technology is badly managed with no 'rules' in place on how to use it effectively.
  4. Look beyond the traditional industry limits for interesting collaboration projects that utilise intelligence that you can adapt in your own organisation.
  5. Take collaboration seriously - the profit potential is huge (take a look at Electrolux and Lavazza (now a billion euro a year business) but engagement follows.

Whatever the challenges in business right now, engagement is a major challenge with our people and both business and HR functions need to get to grip on how that can work better.
What easier way than use the people already INSIDE THE BUSINESS to do that?

Have a great day.