Inside the Collaboration Crystal Ball: Four New Year’s Resolutions to Speed Up Your Organization

Organizations of all types enter 2013 with one key priority:  how do they move faster and execute with greater agility while still remaining flexible and adaptable to the rapid changes in markets? 

CEOs around the world are looking to collaboration as their top strategy to increase the speed of their organizations. Why?  Because collaboration eliminates the friction that slows organizations down – whether that friction comes from people or processes. 

The amount of friction in your organization is directly proportional to your ability to speed up your team.  Friction is sometimes purposeful, such as passive-aggressive behavior.  Other times friction comes from processes that create decisions without any clarity or a clear definition of success.

Here are four New Year’s resolutions for all leaders to curb their organizational friction and speed up their team’s execution with collaboration:

1.) Take a holistic view of collaboration. Collaboration does indeed deliver transactional value, such as Telepresence, which eliminates the need to travel.  But the transformative value of collaboration comes from looking at your organization holistically – by leveraging culture, process and technology in combination. My Cisco colleague Carl Wiese and I wrote The Collaboration Imperative with this end-to-end perspective in mind.  You can read a sample chapter of our book that here outlines this holistic approach to collaboration.

2.) Embrace the behaviors of a collaborative leader. Of all the strategies available to leaders to create speed in their organizations, none is more important than the behaviors of the leaders themselves. This is because nothing slows an organization down more than a culture of internal competition and the executive behaviors that encourage it. Collaboration encourages a culture of shared goals as it minimizes hoarding and competition by creating an environment that shares information, diagnoses problems, raises concerns, coordinates efforts and identifies possible initiatives and transition points – all which ratchet up the pace of an organization’s ability to execute. Read more about the four behaviors of collaborative leaders here.

3.) Invest in your collaboration persona. Leadership is how we “show up” every day in front of our teams.  But how do we show up as leaders in a world where work is increasingly done on a mobile phone or tablet, or using a video chat, web conference or Telepresence? This is one of the greatest leadership challenges of this hyper-connected world. As a leader you will need to know what I like to call your “collaboration persona” – that way in which your leadership style shows up when you’re not in the physical world. We all have to learn to be virtual stars in our own, authentic way.  You can learn more about how to understand and embrace your collaboration persona in this blog.

4.) Make clarity and decision making synonymous.  At each stage in the chain of decision-making in your organization, ambiguity looms as the enemy of clarity. In worst cases, ambiguity leads to conspiracy theories and people actually work against each other. In most cases, work simply slows down while people seek out answers. I’m convinced that most people don’t wake up in the morning trying to second-guess decisions. Ambiguity is your enemy as the leader of a team. You can transform your team’s natural curiosity into a powerful source of discretionary effort – all it takes is a little clarity.  Read here for ways to increase decision clarity on your team.

Good luck with your own new year’s resolutions.
Ron

Follow me on Twitter at @RonRicciCisco

 

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