Get Started – What is “doable”


Perhaps the first things to consider is:


  • What is doable?
  • What is sustainable?


A key component of deciding if a collaborative shift is ‘doable’ is the degree to which it is ’sustainable’.

What we mean by ‘doable’ is what can realistically be achieved with the resources, authority and influence you have available. By ‘sustainable’ we mean what can be implemented and maintained in a way that builds and maintains trust in both the initiative as well as its promise for the ‘long walk’.


2.1: What is Doable:


Just like Ian, you might have a grand vision of a whole industry ‘collaborating’, but like Ian it’s important to realise that ‘every journey begins with the first step’, and the best place to start is in the areas where you have the most influence. For collaboration to be truly understood, it needs to be practiced and experienced. The first and most important place to begin is with you, and how well you collaborate in your everyday environment.


If you are collaborative in your work place, you are ‘being the change you want to see’, and the culture will change around you. Be proactive in this change – start expanding and normalising the use of collaborative skill within your immediate team. Hone and refine processes and systems that nurture collaborative practice. Depending on your position in the organisation, you might then develop and introduce business policy and practices that nurture collaborative skills.


Your collaboration initiative can start ‘now’ with you. 


Defying English grammar, we see Collaboration as a ‘verb’ or an ‘action’ word. It’s about doing stuff together, a way of being in a relationship with the other that focuses on mutual benefit. It rests on a clear set of values (e.g. being open, honest, respectful and accountable) and a few core skills that most people have, to varying degrees (e.g. active listening and acting accordingly).


You can work on your listening skills by concentrating on what people are telling you they need. Check with them by asking direct and respectful questions for clarity and an understanding of those needs. Be clear and direct in your offer of what you can do for and with them. Then act accordingly and commit to doing what you say you will do when you say you’re going to do it – follow through with your promises. If you’re genuinely unable to fulfill your commitments, communicate and re-negotiate in a timely, calm manner.


Introducing collaboration to your workplace culture.


Aside from your personal reputation of introducing collaboration to your business, it is useful to demonstrate its broader systemic worth. It is best to do this early by doing something with your people (your tribe) that demonstrates materially the benefits of the idea. Why? It get’s buy in, and builds support and momentum while initial interest and enthusiasm for the idea is still high. In a tangible way it shows undeniably that ‘this is the way to go’ and lays a strong foundation. It builds a mandate for a broader scope and implementation.


The value?  Apply the ‘collaboration factor of 20% plus’.  Our experience of many case studies is that about 20% is the value delivered in a collaborative environment; that includes reduction in the ‘cost of doing business’.  After you have delivered it you can call it waste!