Collaborate to Celebrate?

Are we missing growth opportunities by not “collaborating” with other organizations?

The almost incalculable benefits of “Just-In-Time Inventory” last century may be surpassed by the unimaginable potential of increasingly “Customer Demanded Collaboration” today. As the mammoth defense and space customers are requiring collaboration between sometimes competitive organizations, the success of this model will expand and place new organizational structure flexibility and control demands on more and more organizations.

Collaboration unnatural? My experience is that collaboration among really smart people is unnatural unless there is an existing trust bond. What happens when we try to collaborate with a stranger who is a sometimes competitor??? What do we do if the customer insists we add our best “X” to the other organizations best “Y” before they will contract with both of us? What if the customer insists we workout our own Intellectual Property protections with each other first and the customer will not be responsible for protecting IP?

The potential benefits of collaboration where one organization can double its impact without having to double its infrastructure? My role is to be an objective observer of collaboration attempts, a helpful facilitator where necessary and a creative solution suggester. My role might involve structuring a process and helping facilitate participants through problem identification and resolution.

On a smaller scale, think of a swimming pool contractor who knows a homeowner requires a fence that meets safety codes around the pool upon completion. Rather than wait for the customer to try to coordinate a solution between different companies, what if the pool and fence companies collaborated in advance and offered a seamless solution to both problems at the same time? As the word spread, would more homeowners prefer to buy from this collaboration? Would the coordination problems be worth it?

Successful collaborators are people who develop versatility/adaptability for selecting appropriately among my recommended mix of skills to create an organization/collaboration culture that looks like this:

  • Our competing ideas collide skillfully and the collision gives birth to “3rd Ideas” until we agree on which idea is the most effective and desirable.
  • Our “3rd Ideas” are not compromises reached by giving in or giving up something valuable; they are better than our original ideas.
  • Our self esteem and trust increase because we understand how to manage, participate in and therefore benefit from the positive potential of conflict.
  • Our organization thrives on our innovative “3rd Ideas” that successfully solve problems and discovers pathways to new products and services that meet the needs of our rapidly changing world.

Collaboration may enable you to greatly increase the efficient utilization of assets and resources by specializing and then relying on others for parts of what you used to do. A critical component of organizations who want to explore collaboration is that they increase success probabilities by learning to “Let Ideas Compete—Not People!” and Thoren Group is a great place to get that training and support.

I look forward to hearing from you!

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