Collaboration: the cornerstone of agile business implementations
The traditional waterfall methodology to business is increasingly being replaced with a new agile approach. Collaboration is the cornerstone of this approach and to be successful needs to form part of the company's culture. Seugnet van den Berg, MD at consulting firm Bizmod, says that customers are not willing to endure bad service, mostly because of the abundant alternatives available and such, organisations need to collaborate more efficiently and change the way they approach both internal and external operations.
Van den Berg says that businesses are struggling with effective collaboration across business silos because they don't realise that its' success hinges on the culture of the organisation. "Successful collaboration requires a cooperative spirit and mutual respect - which lies at the very heart of company culture."
To establish this way of working, companies tend to focus on the traditional business objectives: tangible business procedures, systems, processes and physical space. Van den Berg says that this doesn't work because in the attempt to change the way they work, companies ignore the barriers to collaboration.
When attempting to embed collaboration, companies need to take a three pronged approach. Firstly, they need to evaluate the competencies that they are trying to create. Secondly, evaluate the difficult elements that need to be reviewed including processes, tools and systems. Lastly, but most importantly, they need to assess the barriers to collaboration which, more often than not, are a result of structure, roles, decision making patterns and ultimately culture.
Collaboration requires a mindset change, where teams work together to achieve results. The mindset change starts at the leadership function. Leaders need to take the fundamental step from controlling their organisations through structures and performance management processes to becoming a servant-leader to their workforce. Trust, transparency and collaboration across the organisation needs to be embedded in every conversation and engagement. This shift of regulation needs to transition from management to the teams and to the team members themselves. Team members need to take accountability for their own work, they need to hold themselves and their peers accountable.
"It is imperative that collaboration forms part of an organisation's DNA for it to be successful," concludes Van den Berg.