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Jan 16

Why Collaboration is the Heart of the New Organizational Model

Some great feedback on my recent blog posting about merging HR and IT. As I mentioned in my posting, this is part of my overall organization model where I advocate a smaller number of chief officers acting together as a lean management team.

That thinking was inspired by this Harvard Business Review article - When Senior Managers will not Collaborate. According to the research in the article, when professionals collaborate, there is more revenue for the firm and more satisfied customers with better products and services. This is a finding that has been demonstrated in other studies. So, why don’t organizations encourage collaboration?

It is the current prevailing organizational structure that rewards individual achievement over contributing to a team. Stars are valued over a high-performing team (despite the recent quest to create more high-performing teams). The great leader mental model is deeply ingrained in the Western culture and management theory. This is why there is such a proliferation of chief whatever officers whenever organizations face a new challenge such as increasing diversity, effectively using big data, or building an employer brand.

Collaboration is essential, but it is not a natural skill for everyone. Collaboration takes training, willingness to fail, and perseverance. The organizational design has to have trust built into its processes, and there needs to be plenty of feedback to keep collaboration going. This will be a hard process at the beginning but, as the evidence shows, the payoffs are well worth the effort.

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