Too often, organisations breed a culture of competition in which employees, departments and offices tolerate each other instead of collaborating with one another. But if an organisation breaks down internal silos and works in harmony, then it can partake in meaningful discussions that ultimately will push innovation forward.
In developing this collaborative climate, organisations must first have the support of its leaders. Then they must communicate the initiative so employees understand the direction of the organisation, train employees on the skills necessary for effective collaboration and provide coaching and mentoring to support the transition.
Collaboration requires flexibility. The person who called the plays yesterday may need to fall back and take direction from the person who’s been sitting on the bench, observing the action and formulating a strategy. Collaboration is about bringing unique skills and talents together in a flexible way that supports the task at hand.
Teamwork is successful when everyone knows the rules of the game and all stakeholders adhere to the same rules. But when the game is constantly changing, you need the ability to adapt your formation. Collaboration allows you to change your structure to support the situation, which is often in flux.
Teams operate in a hierarchical structure. The team leader is in charge, and the reporting structure is from the top down. Collaboration is more fluid. The leader may not even be in the same location as the players, and they may or may not understand all the positions. True collaborators require support, but they’re self-directed in their problem solving and creativity.