It has been demonstrated that collaboration is important in the work place and that it works. It has also been shared why collaboration is so hard. Today’s focus is on why collaboration does not work.
As a matter of full disclosure, I help clients resolve conflict, negotiate winning solutions and inspire leaders. I am also the founder of The Collaboration Effect TM enhancing relationships, resources and revenues. In short I do believe in collaboration. So why the title of today’s blog? Collaboration is not always possible. It may be a people or it may be a process issue.
Why isn’t collaboration always possible?
It starts at the top. Leadership may not be on board. They may verbalize it. They may profess it. They may clearly not demonstrate it. If that is the case, employees are smart enough to see what is happening and they won’t buy into it either.
Leadership may not be on board.
How many firms have a mission statement, vision statement and values? However, when asked if the managers live up to these 90% of the managers say yes, but only 30% of the employees say yes. Why is that? Communication is central and we are human and screw up.
If collaboration is demonstrated at the top, have only the same ones that always jump on board bought into the process? Are the key employees that impact others in the firm fully on board too? If the influencers are not board chances are they will be negative related to a collaboration effort.
The influencers may not be on board
We know from neuroscience that we are hard wired to view new things negatively. That is part of survival in our genes. We survived a long time as a human race by being skeptical. Being skeptical is not necessarily bad. We want people that ask good and hard questions. That is helpful. We want to encourage good questions, but not adversity that is detrimental to a healthy discussion. We want employees to stay engaged and not go below the line.
We want to encourage good questions, but not adversity that is detrimental to a healthy discussion.
Authoritarian leadership may simply decide, but it is possible that this decision has not been thought through all the way. There may be other ramifications. It may be real or perceived that management does not listen. By not listening to others concerns this can have short term compliance, but long-term negative repercussions.
It simply is not clear. It has not been fully thought out strategically and tactically. It needs to be well thought out and be clearly articulated to address all of the elements of
- human resources (job elements and performance evaluations),
- labor relations,
- training and education,
- leadership sharing,
- employee engagement,
- labor management relations,
- customer interactions, and
- bottom line results.
How will this change in process benefit the firm, growth, employees and customers?
If the influencers were not sought out and they are not on board the effort is likely dead in the water before a new process is even introduced. The decision was made to go ahead with this initiative without having thought about all of the potential negative ramifications. If the decision has been made and the process does not allow for feedback and changes based on real world concerns, the process will fail. The latest flavor of the month will again melt away.
The decision was made to go ahead with this initiative without having thought about all of the potential negative ramifications.
The climate has not been and once again is not a climate that encourages open honest transparent communication that is accepting of others and is responsible to all of the stakeholders.
Collaboration is in the best interest of the organization. Sub-optimization to the individual is only natural for survival and self-interest. Only by taking proactive steps to address the people and processes that may undermine collaboration may it be possible to promote collaboration for the betterment of the organization. Otherwise will not work.
Only by taking proactive steps to address the people and processes that may undermine collaboration may it be possible to promote collaboration for the betterment of the organization.