When the people involved in the work of an organization, be they suppliers, employees, or customers properly collaborate, it can dramatically shift the power and effectiveness of that work. When problems or challenges arise within a group that works well together, they are better equipped to develop their solutions rather than expecting the coordinating business to provide all the answers. That means a mindset shift from being a customer to be being a partner in achieving the best result from the work.
By being proactive, less time is wasted on the part of the company because they are not operating on a command and control structure and don’t need an “official” answer. The leaders of the business find that when their work is less interrupted by other tasks, provided they have properly empowered the whole team and facilitated the right collaborative environment. Work blends successfully across the entire value chain.
Creating an environment that encourages collaboration requires specific actions on the part of the leadership. The team must know that they are trusted to formulate their solutions and to brainstorm ways to work together. This means that part of the recruitment process, for suppliers, employees and customers has to assess the capability to collaborate and should foster a good fit for the team.
So how does a company create that environment? It is about thinking about other things that how the work is done, about environments, about creating opportunity. For example, the Royal Bank of Scotland built an indoor atrium in the new bank’s headquarters. Space encouraged employees to stop, socialise, and bond with one another. Height frees people to lift themselves, by taking the weight of the building away, and it provides natural light to see. The open space to meet provides time to be together, even as you are just passing through on your way to your desk. Although smaller businesses might not have the resources for such a large project, developing a mindset that considers how people can better interact with you in environments that work is a wonderful way to build camaraderie.
Modelling collaborative behaviour is also critical. The Standard Chartered Bank has developed a strong reputation for collaboration within the senior management. Although the bank has some different locations, the executives understand each other’s roles and goals to such a degree that they can fill in for each other regularly on nearly any task. When employees see the collaboration at the top level, they then engaged in similar practices. Collaboration is pervasive, it seeps into the way people think, act, work and live.
As collaboration helps to improve the productivity of employees, they meet tougher goals more smoothly. It is a critical part of the work blend.
Building a collaborative environment in your business
The world of work has shifted from commerce based on products and services provided to customers by companies for money, to one where the organisation and its clients share values and success.
We specialise in developing strategies to create collaborative business environments that deliver remarkable value for your customers, and more sustainable profits for you.
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