Start by defining your purpose

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Do you understand why you, your team, or your organisation does what it does?

The answer to the question is crucial because it provides the foundation to how you achieve your goals and what collaborative tools can enable you to achieve better and more rapid results.

If you have not viewed Simon Sinek’s Ted video on “How great leaders inspire action” to get a clear understanding of this linkage – I promise it’s worth the 18 minutes!

By co-defining a short term problem or long term vision with your team/organisation you are able to develop a shared understanding of the Why.

Shared clarity of the Why serves to ensure team buy-in to a planning process involving tasks. Furthermore, a collectively motivated workforce is more easily galvanised to purposely collaborate to achieve their shared vision.

Perhaps most significantly in the defining of the Why, organisational culture and process enabling tools do not feature in the discussion. Clarity of purpose can shape the culture, and specifying the requirements of appropriate technology to enable co-creation can only be effectively done with a clear understanding of the Why – the purpose.

When taking your team or organisation to the next level keep in mind that processes, your people and technology platforms that fail to align to a purpose is a proven recipe for failure. The ubiquity of technology options affords the opportunity to identify a cost effective and appropriate enabling tool that fits the intended purpose – maximising the likelihood of its actual adoption and the achievement of rapid results.

 

Strategy for a collaborative organisation – do you have one?

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Stories of the failure of enterprise social networks abound. Indeed, research backs up those stories – in 2013 Gartner concluded that Strategy80 percent of enterprise social networks will not achieve their intended benefit.

Yet, the success of Facebook in the virtual world would suggest that when the real world can be successfully emulated online, the benefits of real world interaction are significantly amplified because of the scope and reach of the virtual world.

Deloitte Access Economics in Australia put a value on the benefit of unlocking the power of the workplace crowd in Oz at $46 billion per year. But they went further, finding that companies that prioritise collaboration are five times more likely to “increase in employment, twice as likely to be profitable, and twice as likely to outgrow competitors”.

Deloitte also found that half of all businesses have no collaboration strategy and that, of the 24 percent who did have a strategy in place, it was important for their business. Indeed, they found that only 20 percent of the companies without a collaboration strategy outgrew the market in comparison to 52 percent of companies with such a strategy in place.

Their research revealed a strong correlation between collaboration and performance. “Those that actively encourage collaboration do better. And not by a little, but by a lot.” Furthermore, “Collaboration, driven by a clear strategy, brings revenue growth, more profit, greater employee satisfaction, higher productivity, improved product quality and innovation.”

And so should you drop what you’re doing and install a corporate social network tomorrow? No, don’t leave it to ‘chance’!

Underpinning successful adoption of a collaborative platform is having a strategy in place that ensures there is alignment of a company’s people, processes and platform to its purpose.

Was Hewlett Packard an optimally collaborative organisation under the leadership of its CEO, Lew Platt? I suspect not given his oft quoted lament after resigning from HP: “If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three-times more productive.”

Lew Platt was implicitly acknowledging that a collaborative organisation unlocks the potential, capacity and knowledge of its people to generate value, innovation and improve productivity. Deloitte Access Economics does us the favour of proving the linkage!

The Infrastructure For Innovation

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Innovation of course does not happen in a vacuum! It happens when a diverse set of perspectives are captured in a purposefully collaborative environment. This outstanding set of slides by Oscar Berg and Henrik Gustafsson captures the elements of this perfectly.

 


Collaborate to maximise exports in Africa – Case study

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129px-Africa_satellite_orthographicThe client’s core business is in Africa. It has subsidiary companies that manufacture and sell a range of complimentary products into Africa. The client’s purpose as HQ is focused toward exporting the range of products and sustainable solutions they produce in a client-focused, unified and collaborative way.

The challenge was to leverage their wide product range and ability to provide a turnkey offering using their existing footprint covering most African markets and similar customer base.

Underlying the challenge is a culture of competition between the subsidiaries where a lack of trust based on a ‘go-it-alone’ mindset had been allowed to develop. The competitive culture had resulted in limited communication, with each subsidiary ‘arrogantly’ looking after its own narrow interests and not sharing experience and leads.

Our client needed assistance in building an environment where the knowledge, skills and experience within each subsidiary was captured in a manner that overcame corporate ‘go-it-alone’ arrogance, enhanced trust between the subsidiaries, and enabled HQ to maximise the opportunity of exporting the range of products in a unified, client focused collaborative manner.

Collaboration, Cooperation and Teamwork – innate Gray Wolf skills

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Can we learn anything from Yellowstone National Park’s Gray Wolves?640px-Yellowstone-wolf-17120

Wolf behaviour – particularly during a hunt – perfectly exemplifies the benefits in nature of collaboration, teamwork and cooperation. Fewer than half of the members of a wolf pack on a hunt are seemingly engaged in the actual hunt. Yet each wolf in the pack knows its role, its capabilities and limitations. Any mistakes made in the pursuit of their prey can be fatal. Continued