In his article 10 Everyday Issues that Kill Collaboration, John O. Burdett discusses how the advent of AI and technological advancements necessitates a radical overhaul of organizational design, pivoting towards a structure that is Flat, Focused, Fast, Flexible, and Fertile to new ideas. The transition to a ‘Flat’ design is highlighted as a cultural metamorphosis, compelling leaders to enhance their collaboration skills as non-decision-making roles become increasingly automated.
John emphasizes the enduring nature of remote work in the developed world, underscoring that the old management style of ‘management by walking around’ is becoming obsolete. In its stead, the need for clear, creative, and constructive collaboration is paramount. He also points out a paradigm shift in business models where the traditional focus on ‘performance excellence’ is being superseded by ‘customer intimacy,’ which underscores the essence of collaboration and partnership.
Central to the article is the idea that without collaboration, businesses cannot stay competitive in a turbulent world. John identifies ten everyday issues that, if not addressed, can stifle collaboration:
- Leaders must recognize that they serve the team rather than the other way around.
- Teams should avoid accepting ‘Yes, but’ in conversations, which hinders constructive input.
- Dialogue should focus on improving the customer’s business rather than solely on profit.
- The distinction between cooperation and collaboration, where in the latter, the success of others is prioritized over personal gains.
- The importance of leadership roles being filled by individuals who inherently understand and practice collaboration and coaching.
- The necessity of promoting imagery that celebrates the team rather than the individual, acknowledging the importance of ‘super teams’ over ‘superstars’.
- The need to evolve business models to foster collaboration with customers, creating unique offerings that cater to the future market.
- The problems with performance management systems that cause conflict by not recognizing the contributions of all team members.
- Differentiating between ‘jobs’ and ‘roles’ where roles allow for overlapping contributions that can lead to collaboration and innovation.
- The importance of using inspirational language, metaphors, and stories to celebrate and encourage collaboration daily.
John finishes up by noting that collaboration is inherent in humans, evident from our evolution. The challenge lies not in teaching collaboration but in removing the barriers that hinder it.
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John O. Burdett is founder of Orxestra® Inc. He has extensive international experience as a senior executive. As a consultant he has worked in more than 40 countries for organisations that are household names. John has worked on organisation culture for some of the world’s largest organisations. His ongoing partnership with TRANSEARCH International means that his thought leading intellectual property, in any one year, supports talent management in many hundreds of organisations around the world.