June 8, 2012 at 12:58 am #163511
One of the questions my agency is asking is just that…the what’s in it for executives and senior leaders to collaborate both inside the agency and with other agencies on like/similar issues? I’d be interested in learning what, if anything, other federal agencies do to encourage collaboration at the top levels of the agency.
June 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm #163529
This is a huge issue….I know DOD and DHS had some incentives for awhile that to become an SES you had to have worked at 3 different jobs.
June 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm #163527
Love the idea of making the requirement to work at three different jobs!
They have whatever incentive the organizaiton provides for collaboration whic normally is nothing. People at the grad ?12? and above level should be rerwarded on how well the make the entire organizaiton perform, not their own little rice bowl. Comments?
June 11, 2012 at 4:34 pm #163525
June 11, 2012 at 7:11 pm #163523
I think to the extend that collaboration helps the senior executive achieve his/her desired outcome, it is embraced. Collaboration for collaboration’s sake – or to achieve someone else’s objective without a quid-pro-quo is usually considered added stuff on an already full plate.
It is unfortunate, but until or unless collaboration is deliberately engineered into the process for acquiring resources, I don’t think it will gain a lot more traction than what it already has.
My organization has proven that collaboration can result in savings of millions of dollars. Specifically, we required anyone spending more than $1M on “new” investments to go through our due diligence process – which included an easy to follow check list. The process included a search for other folks who are doing the same or similar things that the applicant wanted to do. When a match was found, the two parties were brought together to see if there were any similarities, economies of scale, standards that could be shared, etc. It worked on a number of occasions to actually save millions of dollars, but people didn’t love doing the extra work to collaborate.
June 12, 2012 at 7:13 am #163521
I think part of the challenge is the lack of real outcomes-based performance measures. While we often talk a good game around a “focus on results”, leaders are often rewarded more for effort and conformance to existing procedures. If leaders were truly rewarded for outcomes and encouraged to take risks, then we would begin to see a lot more experimentation with collaborative intiatives.
June 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm #163519
John van SantenParticipant
June 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm #163517
Tough issue to resolve in a competitive environment where promotion might be based more on who has the most toys in the sandbox instead of who is best at sharing the toys in the sand box. Executives and senior leaders usually will continue to do what they did that was successful in their being in the positions that they are in. Thus think it would be beneficial for the next level up to learn/discover on an individual basis what motivates their executive and senior leaders and develop a strategy designed to promote collaboration based on the individual motivators. For some it may be cash, for some it may be recognition, for others it may be any number of things.
June 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm #163515
Charles Lewis DriggersParticipant
Our organization holds a monthly management team meeting; however, these meetings are to primarily update the other managers as to what you are doing. There is a little collaboration. In fact, the previous Executive Director policy/mantra was “No Surprises” meaning she wanted to know everything to be presented in advance. Of course, it was her opportunity to direct the manager to not present the item to the other managers. I never paid any attention to the policy presenting whatever I believed needed to be presented (i.e. deal with IT coordination issues). It goes without saying I was usually in trouble with the previous Executive Director. I believe I was kept around due to being a creative thinker having the skills/knowledge to plan and implement new and different projects.
June 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm #163513
Here’s some ideas I’ve developed over the years of watching and trying to get people to collaborate and partner effectively. http://www.christopherwilson.ca/resolving_collaboration_issues.html
The key starting element is to firmly understand that you can’t achieve what you want to do by yourself. Don’t avoid this step even if you’ve been told to collaborate because along with it will come the appreciation that you’re not ‘in charge’ any more. The participation of others depends on their willingness to participate. The biggest problem with senior leaders is that they instinctively want to jump in and take charge and start giving orders. (Check out this talk by John Chambers of Cisco). Getting all the collaborators to understand what they will potentially gain together and what will happen should they fail to work together is essential. It sets the cost/benefit contours of collaboration.
Everyone naturally has to understand what’s in for them but they also need to understand what’s in it for everyone else, because if you’re the only one being satisfied, the collaboration is bound to fall apart. If you don’t know or care what they need how can you be sure they will get it and keep the process going?
You need to build trust (not something people generally know how to do intentionally) and you need to develop ways to learn and decide together. In collaborations, rarely does a majority vote win the day except as a backup threat. You will also have to develop mechanisms to allow people to do their jobs but be aware that others are doing theirs in order to build a network of moral contracts and help discourage people from shirking or cheating.
Finally, you’ll to be able to monitor your progress towards your collective goals and be able to reflect on whether the results being achieved will truly produce the world everyone wants to live into. Celebrate and have fun together. Incentives are a part of the process but only a small portion.
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