Organisations built for collaboration

By guest writer Jill Clancy.

Do you have the best organisational structures, systems and behaviours in place to encourage collaboration and trust to thrive? In my previous blog, I talked about the complex structures of a spider’s web – they could as easily relate to organisational structures and systems that encourage and promote collaborative working.

  • Complex structure – but built quickly*
  • Built to catch a prey, but not always*
  • Unique – no 2 are the same*
  • Easy to destroy*
  • Can build again, but never the same*
  • Different types of silk – sticky, fluffy and non-sticky for instance*
  • Lots of spiders – very few different types of web in comparison to the number and type of spiders e.g. spiral, funnel, tubular, etc.*

What do collaborative organisations look like? Not like most organisations today that force teams or departments or business units or countries to compete by using key performance indicators based on keeping profit, revenue and knowledge within the business unit rather than rewarding outstanding team performance (across the organisation), innovation and sharing knowledge.

Our organisations today are made up of wonderfully diverse skills, experiences, thoughts, opinions, ideas, etc. And yet many organisations have yet to discover how to successfully bring them all together to create a truly collaborative organisation that is sustainable.

It isn’t easy in well-established organisations, with what is perceived as a deeply embedded culture – that is relatively successful i.e. making a profit, meeting targets, satisfying shareholders, etc. But in most organisations it is no longer effective to work in silos and they must think of ways to change – and change rapidly.

Organisations need to remove vertical career paths allowing different ways to progress their careers, create more effective decision making governance, empower their employees by developing clear responsibilities and accountabilities, allow people to make best use of their skills and experience alongside having the opportunity to learn and develop from each other and create pathways to allow and encourage effective knowledge sharing across organisations, for example ProFinda.

Collaborative organisations are built around communities and networks across the organisation as well as externally, and whilst I would always advocate a conversation as the best collaborative tool, in large, multi-national, multi-site organisations they need to make best use of the technology that is available to them giving an enhanced ability to collaborate across roles, functions and geography.

Does your organisation actively encourage collaboration? Or does it put in some social/collaborative software and expect you to find your way through your organisation to collaboration effectively?

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[at]jillclancy.co.uk, LinkedIn and Twitter.