Collaboration has become a buzz word in the workplace today. Everyone seems to be talking about collaboration and SoMe almost in the same breath.
Therefore, before I plunge into the presentation, let me tell you what this is not going to be about. This is not about Tools, E2.0., SoMe, platforms, or technology.
I am going to speak about disciplined collaboration. Collaboration is a complex social phenomenon and has many facets. In this short time span of 10 minutes, it would be impossible and ineffective to cover all aspects of collaboration.. What I would like to do is touch upon these facets and hope to leave you with some food for thought.
What I would like to do instead is leave you with a few key pointers about the steps to disciplined collaboration, the upsides of collaboration, the barriers to collaboration and the key to tailoring solutions.
I draw my inspiration from Morten Hansen’s book Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results.
Apple iPod was not really a technological marvel. It was a smart combination of existing components. The hard-disk was a tiny 1.8 inch drive from ToshibaThe minute battery was from SonyThe hardware blueprint was provided by Portal PlayerSome of the software came from PixoWhat apple did exceptionally well was collaborate across these disparate units and create a product that blew the collective mind of the world in 2002 when Steve Jobs drew the ultra-portable player out of his pocket. Sony Connect The personal computer group based in TokyoThe portable audio teamTeam for flash memory playersSony music in US and JapanSony, on the other hand, had all the pieces they needed in-house. They had their music division, the software division…but when they tried to put the pieces together, they couldn’t. There was no culture of collaboration in the company. The culture of collaboration being the key phrase. In fact, it was the opposite. It was a culture of internal competition. In the past, this culture had helped Sony come up with hit products like the Walkman and the PlayStation video game player. This culture works really well if each unit can work in isolation. However, when they need to work together, the result is a disaster.Connect was not a standalone product. It required collaboration among five Sony divisions—the personal computer group based in Tokyo, the portable audio team responsible for the Walkman, another team resp for the flash memory players, Sony Music in the US and in Japan. However, there were way too many silos and each group went ahead with their own preferences. The product received an extremely negative review from the Wall Street Journal and was finally killed in 2007. But not before it had wreaked some havoc. Sony’s stock prices had declined by 20% by the end of 2006. In contrast, Apple’s share prices exploded from 11$ at the beginning of 2002 to 84$ at the end of 2006.
Sony’s failure shows how incomplexorganizational activities, effectivecollaborationis often a necessary requirement for success. And as we walk into the future, we are going to move into greater levels of complexity and ambiguity.
Because as we enter the second decade of the 21st Century, we know that information overload and change will be a constant, and the need to problem solve on the run will be the key to survival. This is where the need to understand the dynamics of Disciplined Collaboration comes in.
The idea of disciplined collaboration can be summed up in one phrase: the leadership practice of assessing when to collaborate (and when not to) and instilling in people both the willingness and the ability to collaborate when required. Evaluate opportunities for collaboration: The goal of collaboration is not collaboration but better results. The first task is to understand the case for collaboration--to appreciate how collaboration can increase performanceThe second is to evaluate the upside for the companyThe final task is to understand when to say “no” to collaboration—yes, there may be occasions when the cost of collaboration will outweigh the benefits and this needs to be evaluated.
Better innovation: we have seen Apple…there is also P&Gs Whitecrest, a product that evolved out of collaborative efforts. Better sales—opportunities to cross sellBetter operations—where collaboration leads to the transfer of best practices and helps in decision making.
The not invented here barrier—people are not willing to reach out to othersInsular cultureStatus gapSelf reliance (where the culture promotes “solve your own problem” mentality, asking for help may be conceived as ignorance or weakness)FearThe hoarding barrier—people are unwilling to provide helpBeing too busyFear of losing power where knowledge is deemed as powerFew incentives for collaboratingThe search barrier—people are not able to find what they are looking forCompany sizePhysical distancePoverty of networksOverload of information that is not relevantPlenty of strong ties but very few weak tiesThe transfer barrier—people are not able to work with people they don’t know wellTacit knowledgeNo common framesWeak ties
Craft a unifying goal that will bring people together, that is powerful yet simple, clear and measurable.Cultivate T-shaped management—where people are encouraged to work within team and across teams, via project rotations, location rotation, and so on.Kennedy’s man on the moon is the best known goals in the annals of leadership
Disciplined Collaboration Sahana
Welcome to this lightning talk onCollaboration<br />
This is notabout…<br />E2.0<br />Tools<br />Platforms<br />SoMe<br />Technology<br />
This is not about…<br />Disciplined Collaboration or “collaborating for results”<br />
A Tale of Two Products…<br />Apple iPod<br />Sony Connect <br />
Incomplex<br />organizational activities, <br />effectivecollaboration<br />is often a necessary requirement for success. <br />
Undeniablefacts of the 21st C<br />Novel challenges<br />Emergent problems<br />Demanding clients<br />Constant evolution of technology<br />Dispersed teams<br />Potential meaning overload<br />Reduced half life of knowledge<br />