Posted by: healingtheworkplace | August 13, 2009

Collaboration: A necessity in the “new” workplace

Hello again, today I’ve been thinking about collaboration…about why it is so important in today’s workplace and why it is so difficult to achieve.

The first thing that came to mind was this,

“For-profit businesses or corporations could learn a lot about collaboration from the non-profit sector.”

This may seem obvious to you but I’ll expand on it anyway.

By their very nature businessess and corporations must compete and they compete on many levels:

  • for customers ($$$)
  • for resources
  • for human resources

Non-profits also compete with each other for all of the above. One major difference is that not all non-profits charge money for their services. Some are funded by government or through donations.

 But they are much more likely to collaborate in order to meet the endless number of needs within their communities.

I like to think of collaboration as a set of skills and also a world view. Some of us are more likely to be inclined towards collaboration while others are more competitive in nature.

AND in order to collaborate effectively you must have the right skills.

Actually if you study conflict resolution you’ll learn that collaboration and competition are just two ways of relating. The other three are avoiding, accomodating and compromising.

Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilman are the creators of the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. They have identified the five “modes” as:

  • competing
  • accomodating
  • avoiding
  • collaborating
  • compromising

According to Thomas and Kilmann we are all capable of using these five conflict-handling modes although we tend to be more comfortable using some more readily than others…but I digress as usual. 

As today’s post is not about conflict resolution…although come to think of it…conflict resolution is one of the sets of skills needed in order to collaborate. I hope I’m not confusing you too much???

So collaboration can be as simple as two people working together on a project.

Collaboration can involve an entire team or a number of teams working together to achieve common goals.

Collaborations become even more complicated when organizations create strategic partnerships or alliances.

At the heart of collaboration are two important “things”:

  • relationships
  • trust

This is a bit of a chicken and an egg situation…not sure which comes first…the relationship or the trust. Either way you need both to be able to collaborate successfully.

Bye for now…Lesley


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: