Collaborative Working

Collaborative Working is simultaneously one of the most insightful and frustrating domains out there.

On the one hand, all proponents absolutely recognise that Complexity requires high-value connections and interactions between participants in an Ecosystem.

They know that increased specialisation necessitates Collaborative Working, that the right partnerships at the right Lifecycle stage can transform results, that risk and reward can be shared to everyone’s benefit and that the total is often greater than the sum of its parts.

On the other hand, most proponents treat Collaborative Working as something to do, train in or implement – sometimes even as the end goal in and of itself – and often assume that Value will inevitably and necessarily follow.

Most common is training in “collaborative behaviours”; in the worst cases, people are “ordered” to “work collaboratively”, whether in contracts or by management decree.

What is missing is an understanding that Collaborative Working is an emergent property – a Complex phenomenon – and only truly happens when people are engaged and motivated to self-organize around the Things That Matter and deliver change. This begins with empathy:

Everything else is a facsimile of Collaborative Working, and whilst standards such as ISO 44001 make a valuable contribution in introducing the concept, raising the profile, and suggesting best practice, there is no other “formula” for success than:

  • Establishing the Things That Matter to potential or actual customers.
  • Identifying where potential partners align with those Things That Matter.
  • Engaging at scale to prioritise areas of alignment and mutual interest.
  • Revealing and involving those that show passion, responsibility and ability in those areas.

This is what creates the conditions in which Collaborative Working organically emerges; without these conditions, no amount of “behavioural training” will have any lasting effect, and behaviours will default back to where they were.

And that is the contribution that Value Management makes, realising the potential of Collaborative Working that we’ve recognised throughout, as demonstrated by e.g.:

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