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Creating a Culture of Collaboration

Posted by Allan Wilson

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Apr 16, 2014 10:00:00 AM

The Key To Business Success


There is an old English proverb that says “A problem shared is a problem halved.”  Nowhere is this more true than in the modern business, in which leaders and employees must come together in a culture of collaboration to solve problems and collectively improve the organization.

The Solutions to our Problems May Be Simple...

When I came to the US from Scotland in the early 80s, I embarked on an engineering career before transitioning into information technology.  I was taught that working in teams to solve problems was far more effective than trying to be a one-man show with all the answers.  I learned that complex problems need to be evaluated from different perspectives, and that the power of collective thought and brainstorming is intellectually stimulating and often results in a breakthrough “Ah Ha” moment.  Often during these collaborative sessions, we realized that the solution had been right in front of us when someone outside of our core team made a casual comment or observation.

So Why Don't We See These "Ah Ha Moments"?

Why is it that in business today, we often fail to leverage the power of the team? Why is it that the majority of business leaders feel that they have been ordained to have all the answers?  We spend so much time in the recruiting process to find the best talent, and yet once we've hired those extraordinary people, we don't leverage their skills to their full advantage.

We Must Create a Culture of Collaboration.

It is critical for businesses to leverage the talents of their staff in order to survive and grow.  The businesses that succeed in this are led by people who strive to create a culture of collaboration driven by a "we are all in this together" mindset. Successful business leaders today realize that every employee is an asset to the company, and that their collective talent is a tremendous source of creativity - if leveraged in the right way. 

The key to harnessing this creative potential and sustaining a culture of collaboration is empowerment.  Teams should be empowered to look for new ideas and improvements in the way that the business operates.  But with empowerment comes responsibility. While leaders must trust that their employees are capable of bringing valuable, creative ideas to the table, employees must rise to the occasion by looking for ways to continuously improve their own contribution.  

Creating a culture of collaboration begins with leadership behaviors and is sustained by respecting the talents of every employee and the challenges that the business faces in the competitive marketplace.  Remember: we are all in this together.

Topics: Daily Improvement, Collaboration

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