Collaboration is Key

BLOG-02 05 14

The key is to collaborate. This is what we heard yesterday from Kelly Paine, Costco Manager, Organizational Change Management, at our Fierce session at 2014 Training Magazine Conference and Expo in San Diego.

In the session, Kelly Paine shared how Costco set the expectations for implementing company-wide communication training programs. Specifically, Kelly shared the success of the Cosmos project (read more here) and how the Costco culture of teaching has been critical for its success. At Costco, leaders are expected to spend the majority of their time teaching and collaborating with their teams. In the Cosmos project, collaboration with new teams was created by taking different people out of the business and creating co-location, so people could really solicit the perspectives that they needed to have.

To bring more collaboration to your organization, here are three tips to immediately apply.

Tip #1: Extend the Invitation 

Ask a leader if he or she is collaborative, and the answer will probably be yes. Most leaders are the type of people who go to others for advice, wisdom, or a competing perspective. The problem? They tend to go to the same people every time. The key to breaking down silos and engaging cross-departmentally is widening the scope of who is  invited to the table. Focus on inviting one unexpected person to your team or department meetings - see what you learn.

Tip #2: Avoid the Illusion of Inclusion

If you're asking for others to give you input and work on something with you as a collective, then be prepared to listen and hear all the different point of views, not just the ones that validate your own ideas. Challenge yourself to truly be changed by another perspective and allow for your learning to be provoked. This can be the hardest to do when another perspective strongly goes against your own thoughts, beliefs, or needs. Practice the art of inclusion and allow yourself to feel your discomfort and repeat back what you are hearing. The key is to make sure you're not making assumptions.

Tip #3: Delegate

As a leader, one of the simplest ways to boost collaboration on a team is to provide clear expectations by delegating responsibilities effectively and then providing autonomy. Ownership boosts morale, innovation, and engagement. The cherry on top is that it frees the leader up to focus on top priorities or key pieces of a project or idea only he/she can do. It's a win-win.

Which tip will you try?

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