Developing the Collaborative Culture

By Kenneth Moten

CollaborationIn our pay for individual performance the world makes it challenging to build a culture of collaboration. Collaborative cultures encourage innovation, team and organizational performance over the individual. This requires a major paradigm shift for both leadership and pay-for-performance systems.  It requires moving from a hierarchical organizational model to a more horizontal team oriented model. This shift also requires collaborative integration throughout organizational disciplines.

Although collaborative leadership styles are on the increase they are still rare. Leaders are faced with the dilemma of how they are rewarded for performance so they’re not encouraged to collaborate. Much of the struggle is around the issue of accountability.

In today’s connected economy organization leaders need to decide that collaboration is a vital part of the business. This means tailoring the organization into integrated work teams with processes and systems that support the collaborative culture. This requires an organization that is anchored in candor and encouraged to seek and  embrace the best ideas regardless of who or where they are generated.

In Keith McFarland’s book, The Breakthrough Company. One of thecharacteristics that he sees in these breakthrough companies is buildingscaffolding, in other words, reaching out –– outside of your company ––to develop these trusted relationships in order to support the companyfrom the inside.

In order for organizations to be effective they should consider the following four steps:

  • Create a team-based organization structure
  • Create diverse integrated functionally supported teams
  • Develop a rewards and performance management system that support the collaborative culture
  • Empower the teams and remove barriers