Have you ever wondered why all of a sudden collaboration is so important?

As the rate of change has increased dramatically over the last 20 years, so has the complexity of nearly all leadership and management roles and their associated task demands. Managers and leaders now have more moving parts than ever. Put simply complexity breed’s vulnerability.

Until now the nature of change has kept pace with the generational cycle. A university degree in the past would adequately qualify you for your entire working life. Now the value of a piece of knowledge has shortened dramatically.

What you need just to keep up!

Studies indicate that managers now need to review and renew their education every 5 years as a minimum to keep up with the evolving nature of the workplace and its emerging trends, or risk falling behind what is current best practice. In my field alone, the majority of my dedicated colleagues attend 2-3 courses a year to keep ahead of what's next in the consulting industry.

To provide some perceptive, new research is now showing that less than 1% of senior leaders are capable of executing their roles to maximum effect. The demands associated with senior roles are ever increasing and are already beyond the capability of a single person.

When two minds are better than one…

To execute these roles effectively we now need the neural capacity of two or more people. Only with the combined minds of two individuals working together can we create the level of capability required to execute effective decision making at these senior levels. We are now firmly in the middle of a complexity crisis.

Signs of a complexity crisis – your health check…

The problem with the complexity crisis is that it shows up in ways that don't directly look like they are related to complexity, too often all we see as the surface symptoms. Here are some examples that indicate that you might be stuck in a complexity crisis and not even know it:

  • Siloes - our business departments work in isolation of each other and we can't seem to work collaboratively;
  • Culture – we have been trying to change our culture for years and can't seem to get it right;
  • Effective decision making - we need to improve our decision making, we avoid making decisions, or make them too slowly;
  • Collaboration - our executives can't seem to work together effectively anymore and seem disproportionately focused on their own departments or agendas;
  • Return on investment - we spend so much money and time on development, but it doesn't seem to make much difference beyond the short term and its getting more difficult to justify;
  • Complexity - our business is so complex we don't know how to lead anymore; and
  • Innovation - our business seems stuck operating the same way it always has and we can't seem to transform or innovate into new ways of working or thinking.

In order to combat this crisis we need to harness our group thinking capacity through collaboration and collective intelligence. That’s why collaboration has all of sudden become so crucial to organisational functioning.

What collaboration isn’t…

All too often I see people referring to collaboration as having a conversation to re-enforce their own opinion, this is not collaboration. Collaboration is more about surrendering than reinforcement. In order to collaborate you need to give up a part of yourself in service of a larger whole. In order to be collaborative we need to be able to do a couple of things well!

5 keys to effective collaboration:

1.     Leave your ego behind in service of a greater collective outcome;

2.     Be open to new perspectives, ones other than your own;

3.     Listen openly;

4.     Integrate other people’s opinions;  and

5.     Be vulnerable and flexible.

Just developing these 5 simple traits allows you to remain open to the power of working with others while using collective intelligence to solve complex problems.

The outcome? Actively assisting to shift you and your business out of the Complexity Crisis by developing the 21st Century Mindset - Systems Thinking, Innovation and Collaboration. Tell me more about the the 21st Century Mindset.