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The Urgent Need to Collaborate
September 13,2012 [ by Larry Chao ] 112517 Read and 1 Comment

Like a car needs oil, global matrix organizations need collaboration to work.

With so many different objectives, priorities and functional silos, getting everyone on the same page is a huge challenge. Effective collaboration can do this, and lead to smooth execution.

Here are five traits that go hand in hand with good collaboration:

1. Shared Goals. People need shared goals to be pointed in the same direction, and to serve as a basis for collaboration. They need to feel "we are all in this together." Without shared goals, sometimes functions win, but the overall company loses.

2. Aligned Priorities. In addition to shared goals, priorities must be aligned to enhance collaboration. So much time and energy is wasted correcting mistakes when priorities are not aligned and people are working at cross-purposes.

3. Mutual Respect. Hackneyed but true. People need to respect each other to collaborate. This begins when people have high self awareness and an appreciation for individual differences. Without mutual respect, people spend time fighting and protecting turf, rather than collaborating.

4. Empowered. In a competitive world where speed matters, empowered employees can collaborate and make quality decisions faster than waiting to be told what to do. To empower others, leaders must learn how to coach and delegate, and to teach employees how to think and act more on their own.

5. Supporting Incentives. Incentives need to motivate people to collaborate. Too many times, incentives only support individual success, with little encouraging people to work together. Without meaningful incentives to encourage collaboration, people will naturally focus on "what's in it for me."

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