The old saw, "everything old is new again", certainly applies to the field of collaboration. While technology has moved ahead by leaps and bounds, the important everyday practices that form the foundation of healthy and effective group practice remain much the same. One big difference: Nowadays, collaboration is seen as vital to achieving success strategically.
You hear a lot about collaboration these days — in the business world especially. It seems nearly everyone wants to know how to collaborate more effectively to achieve greater results in an ever more complex and interdependent world.
Yet, for most companies, two overlapping considerations are important: 1) Whether it makes sense to invest in building your company’s collaborative capability, and, 2) How to explore ROI when deciding whether to invest in becoming more collaborative.
What are some of the key takeaways from the recent Building Trust in Business best practices study?
We live in a curious time and certainly in business, this is one of the most challenging economies in anyone’s memory. There are negative indicators everywhere and nearly every company is challenged with adapting to operating amid great, though perhaps not permanent, uncertainty and shifting markets. Approval ratings for leaders and others in positions of authority— in every arena — at a dramatically low point.
Decision making during a crisis is the ultimate test for a leader. Especially when the problems are complex, roles become ambiguous, and urgent decisions get made hastily or pile up. The results are confusion and sometimes even paralysis. A leader can feel like the whole world is watching and waiting for decisive action that addresses issues and does it fast.
Collaboration is getting all kinds of attention these days. But many of us innovating at the leading edge of collaboration — especially around the power of collaboration as a strategic business tool — are often puzzled by much of the dialog. The word "uneven" comes to mind, but the dialog’s also often misleading about what collaboration is, and isn’t.
Collaboration is at the center of an important shift for leaders as more and more companies move to decentralized management models — including managing in the matrix, flattened structures, and so on. Leaders now stress collaboration, including President Obama in a directive to leaders in his new administration.
I've blogged about that here.
As Interaction Associates celebrates our 40th anniversary in 2009, four decades as the leading innovator of collaboration methods that help clients achieve critical business results, we’re watching how collaboration is reaching a critical tipping point. A rapidly growing cadre of leaders across the world — in business and elsewhere, including government — now view collaboration as vital for empowering individuals and for driving change. And, they're speaking up about it in clear and powerful terms.
Collaboration is critical to business success. Not surprisingly, it's critical to success in the arts, too — perhaps especially to performing arts like theatre.
My writing collaborator, Andrew Black, and I appeared this month in a feature interview in The Dramatist, the monthly membership magazine of The Dramatists Guild. We were interviewed, of course, on collaboration. I say "of course" because that is the single most-asked question of Andrew and me — "You write plays together? How on earth do you manage that?"
This is a milestone year for Interaction Associates! We want to take this opportunity to celebrate our 40th year — and to thank our wonderful network of colleagues and friends for your support over the years, and in years to come.
So, turn on your speakers and please enjoy these "40 Wishes" for the coming year.
While 2009 promises to be challenging for all of us, we know that working together to solve problems is the path to success. Let's work together to succeed in 2009.