Given the turbulent and changing times facing government organizations, it seems that trying to go it alone no longer makes sense but can result in serious downside risks to long-term survival. We all have to learn how to work smarter within the reality of ever declining resources. The importance of collaboration is more apparent than ever.
A coach friend of mine, Dr. Bill Bergquist, says “To survive in these turbulent times, organizations must be nimble, adaptable, and often subservient to some higher purpose.” This higher purpose can take several forms from ensuring effective execution of an organization’s mission to being willing to reach outside of the organization to get new ideas and perspectives.
Bill, in his article on Collaborating for Survival and Success: Organizational Coaching Strategies to Meet Unique Opportunities and Challenges, suggests there are six compelling reasons for collaboration now.
1. Expanded capabilities
These allow an organization to do more with less or do something entirely different than their existing resource base permits.
2. More flexibility
Be able to share resources and to create new ventures that would have been inconceivable on their own.
3. Allows easy and convenient access to specialized resources
For example, the ability to share contracted services, professional and administrative staff through IPA rotations, professional development services, libraries, computers, or other expensive resources and technologies.
4. Ability to have a wider geographic reach
This means increased ability to reach into diverse markets, allowing for approaches that are customized for local markets and individual customers and stakeholders.
5. Satisfying a need for human community
In contrast to hierarchical organizations, collaborative ventures typically concentrate on joining rather than differentiating. People come together as peers for mutual benefit. They look for shared interests, goals, and benefits—often reinforced by a shared sense of a higher purpose.
6. Increased personal involvement, control, and professional fulfillment
People throughout the world who are frustrated with the hierarchical model, particularly if they are working in large organizations, often see themselves as being at the mercy of limited superiors, left out of the decision-making process, stifled creatively and hamstrung by bureaucratic regulations. In a growing number of cases, people are willing to work harder and to forfeit traditional job benefits in order to take greater control over their destiny.
What are you doing in your organization to promote and ensure collaboration? What are some of the barriers you see to effective collaboration? To read more of Bill’s article about the importance of collaboration, go to the Library of Professional Coaching at the link below.