Creating a Culture of Collaboration
“How can we instill a culture of collaboration, when people in our organisation feel the need to protect their turf and are afraid of ‘giving things up’? We fully recognize that in our organisation, technical and operational advances as well as cost reductions, can only be made through collaboration. However, we currently have a predominantly no-risk, silo-ed, competitive culture. We need people to adopt more collaborative behaviours such as being more proactive, looking at interdependencies, letting go of the competition for a while and looking at common gains, looking for and being open to trade-offs.” – Head of Organisational Development & Improvement, Air Traffic Management
Start with Role Models, Stories and Standards
Based on our work with clients in similar situations, here are three steps to start with in order to achieve a higher level of collaboration within your organisation.
Seeing is believing
Competitive behaviour among the senior team is one of the biggest reasons why collaboration fails to develop in an organisation. Because senior leaders send the strongest messages about ‘how we do things around here’, make sure that the senior leadership team is role-modeling the desired behaviours.
Storytelling as a strategy
Find examples of when collaborative behaviours occurred inside your organisation, and what was achieved as a result. Make these stories highly visible and embed them as part of your organisation’s ‘tapestry’.
Set standards and hold each other accountable
Invite people in your organisation to define and agree on a set of behaviours that promote collaboration. Then have them define and agree on a set of rules that will help people to hold themselves to account and to hold others to account.