'Collaboration was critical to our success’ or something similar appears in most Greenlight post-implementation reviews. Our recent blogs delved into the details of collaboration from the core attributes to communication blunders to defective collaboration. But how much is collaboration recognized as a contributor to success elsewhere? Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Larry Page are all names that millions recognize for their success but did they do it alone? No. The success of these individual’s empires can be credited to such a high-level of collaboration that the free flow of ideas is persistent and employee creativity is immense.
With Google’s playground, Cook’s management team ‘shake up’ and Nadella’s viral first day email to all employees, it is obvious that these companies take collaboration very seriously. One look at these big players’ successes it is clear that they were not alone but their presence was vital. As such, it begs the question of where leadership ends, management starts and who should be entitled to the credit for it.
An article from Henry Mintzberg looks at how much leadership one should provide, joining leadership and management traits together and diffusing the empowerment throughout an organisation. In summary of his article he found that there is no leadership without management and no management without leadership. There’s always a figurehead, like the names mentioned before, who are deemed the ‘leaders’; followed by enthusiastic supporters and contributors. Nevertheless the success of an organisation lies in the mutual trust between staff and the “leader”.
More frequently, the success statements that are released repeat the words ‘our’ and ‘we’. Success isn’t granted to the CEO but to the company itself and all those who facilitate it. Gone are the days of a ‘top down’ hierarchy with a fat cat at the top behind a locked door. Flat, open organisations are abundant with creativity and the collaboration across job titles and hierarchies advances the organisation with input from each perspective; gaining collective intelligence and thereby developing something that individually would be impossible.
Organisations that rigidly stick to traditional hierarchies and formal communication channels will be overtaken by their more innovative competitors who understand the value of effective collaboration.
About the Author
Charly joined Greenlight after completing her International Business Management degree at Plymouth University. She is fast becoming a business process expert, delivering catalogues both internally and on client site.