Building a collaborative culture in your business
Building a collaborative culture isn’t easy. If it was, all businesses would be good at it.
Good results are dependent on good relationships. In order to build a collaborative culture in your business from the top down, the management team need to build good connections with each other.
Talented business leaders may often struggle with collaboration. In many cases, being strong, forward-thinking individuals is generally what propelled them to their current level of success, so these people tend to shy away from collaboration. However, in order to build a collaborative firm, you need to start at the top.
The most likely reasons for businesses failing to collaborate include senior managers who operate in silos, a lack of collaborative vision from the leadership team and senior leaders / managers not wanting to give up control.
Collaboration doesn’t come easy to most leadership teams. This is often driven by a fear of being overshadowed. Members of the leadership team tend to have a personal track record of winning or being the best. As such, the idea of sharing the spotlight can be a source of anxiety.
It is essential for the leadership team to embrace the idea that as senior business leaders, success is achieved through integrated efforts. To support this, the leaders of the business need to change the narrative and focus on how their individual contribution can be amplified if it is combined with the contributions of others, through teamwork.
Collaboration is not something that people are typically taught at school or university. It requires a complex set of skills and attributes including active listening, shared problem solving, curiosity, humility and being able to disagree in a non-destructive way.
If there is a skills-gap in your management team, then perhaps it is necessary to undergo some training to build a more collaborative approach to managing your firm.
Once the leadership team begins to work more collaboratively, this will tend to cascade down to others across the business. To encourage a more collaborative approach, the leadership team needs to be open to change and new ideas.
Management needs to show that they value others equally and should encourage people from different teams to work together to drive success across the business.
Over time, this will encourage others across the firm to become more collaborative, too.