Are you creating the right environment?

By guest writer Jill Clancy.

So, to enable internal collaboration, you recognise that you need to change your organisational structures, you’ve created more ways in which you can communicate with others in your various locations through the use of collaborative systems – you’ve got rid of the silos in your new structure, haven’t you? You put in new measures and governance – stopping negative and confrontational competition. But you still aren’t working collaboratively……

What about the values, beliefs and behaviours of your organisation? That thing we call culture? Are you still advocating the same values? Have you looked at what are appropriate and inappropriate behaviours to truly embed collaborative working within your organisation? Are YOU as a leader really leading the way or are you nodding when really you want to be shaking your head because this is still a bit of mystery to you?

It’s certainly a different way to work. Behaviours like sharing knowledge and experience openly and willingly is not always easy in traditional organisations with a larger percentage of long term employees where they were always told ‘knowledge is powerful’ – now knowledge is only powerful if you share it, learn from each other.

Do your employees understand their roles and responsibilities and what they are accountable for – do the feel empowered because you trust their knowledge, experience and abilities. Equally are you available to provide support when they don’t understand, what to learn or need a fresh viewpoint.

Creating a collaborative environment doesn’t just happen. As leaders, we should step up and demonstrate that we truly believe in this new way of working. Living the values, beliefs and behaviours of the organisation, and holding ourselves to account when perhaps we are not always as good as we should be. Being authentic and vulnerable is okay.

Having created an environment where collaboration, innovation and creativity is not only welcomed but recognised and applauded we should continue to embed this new environment when we recruit – people who also live and breathe collaborative working. And recognise and reward collaboration through our performance management regimes. It’s not good enough to take away the adversarial competition at the highest level, measuring different KPIs, these need to be cascaded throughout the whole organisation. Individuals have a habit of performing better when they can see how the work they do contributes directly to the success of the organisation.

And talking of habits – thinking back to an earlier blog – new habits take time to become part of who we are, so give your teams, your leaders, your employees time to get used to the new ways of working. Providing support, encouragement, development, awareness and most of all by leading through example.

About the author

Jill Clancy is a collaboration, change and coaching expert — supporting organisations and individuals to realise their potential through building great collaborative relationships, embracing and embedding change – transformational and incremental, and providing business and life coaching. Connect with her at jill@jillclancy.co.uk, LinkedIn and Twitter.