12 keys to a collaborative organizational culture

The inability of politicians to work together to work towards sustained economic goals is perhaps one of the hallmarks of our times. But surely there is no excuse for non-collaboration within companies where growth must be a common goal for the entire organization?

The document defines a true collaborative environment as one that “involves every employee at all levels and departments, and is steeped in an organization’s culture and reflected in its day-to-day operations. It can help recruit, retain and motivate employees; Increased productivity; bring new products and services to market faster; increase customer satisfaction and loyalty; and improve an organization’s bottom line. And because it reduces stress, it creates a better work environment overall.

Click DOWNLOAD THIS RESOURCE above to read the white paper: ‘Creating a Collaborative Organizational Culture’

Unfortunately, as a Board report revealed, most organizations do not achieve this happy state and tend to share a narrow definition that relegates collaboration to activity focused on specific high-impact projects. Too many senior executives fail to understand that true collaboration is not the same as teamwork or cooperation, but is an organization-wide cultural value that should be integrated into the fabric of the company.

Establishing a collaboration requires strong leadership and depends on trust, communication, and a shared vision and purpose. Collaboration is not a vague aspiration but a measurable value that can be developed through training, not just of leaders and high-potential employees, but of all employees in the organization. For that, you need a strategy.

“Without a strategy and roadmap that articulates clear goals, employees will have many good intentions, but not deliver on them.” Say the authors, Kip Kelly, Director, UNC Executive Development and Alan Schaefer, Founder/CEO of Banding People Together.

At the base of the strategy, the 12 key principles proposed:

Lead by example. In highly collaborative organizations, leaders use and demonstrate collaboration tools and strategies and encourage employees at all levels of the organization to do the same.

Focus on individual and organizational benefits. Highly collaborative organizations communicate to employees how they will personally benefit from a collaborative environment, how it will improve their lives and make their jobs easier, and how it will take the organization to the next level.

Focus on behavior and strategy before technology. Highly collaborative organizations formulate a strategy (the “why” and “how” of collaboration for their organization) before rushing to buy the latest collaboration platform. Technology must support the strategy.

Learn to get out of the way. Leaders and managers of highly collaborative organizations understand that micromanagement stifles collaboration. Best practices and guidelines are fine, but let employees do their job, their way. Empower employees.

Give employees a voice. For someone to feel like they have a voice, they need to have a platform and be recognized. It’s a simple idea but quickly lost in the pace of business.

Integrate collaboration into the organizational workflow. Collaboration should not be viewed as just another skill that should be built into an employee’s skill set. It must be integrated into all aspects of their work.

Create a supportive environment. Collaboration and teamwork should be rewarded. For example, make a percentage of an employee’s bonus tied to how well he or she collaborates with others.

Examine the behaviors that the organization rewards. Highly collaborative organizations focus on metrics that align different business units.

Practice perseverance. Collaboration doesn’t have to be limited to teams, employee levels, or pilot programs. Highly collaborative organizations make collaboration an enterprise-wide initiative.

Adapt and evolve. Highly collaborative organizations recognize that collaboration is a perpetual state in their organizations and adapt and evolve as needed.

Recognize that employee collaboration benefits customers. Happy employees are more successful employees, which translates into happier, happier customers.

Recognize this collaboration generally makes the world a better place. Highly collaborative organizations recognize that collaboration reduces stress, increases retention and loyalty, and improves results.

Click DOWNLOAD THIS RESOURCE above to read the white paper: ‘Creating a Collaborative Organizational Culture’