The Key to Growth? Collaboration from all Levels

You want growth? You want productivity? You want talent retention? You need to collaborate in communication. There is nothing more fragile than lack of trust because of a lack of communication. Lose the trust and quality of a project can go down the tubes.

Wendy Lea, CEO of Get Satisfaction presented on Weaving Collaboration into the Fabric of your Company this morning and there couldn’t have been more people nodding their heads in agreement throughout the room, hanging on her every word. She touched on the three major stages of communication and how to work you way up.

1. Competitive

In competitive communication, your needs are in conflict, your influence is minimal, your communication exists in tactics and ploys, and your trust is unproven.

Your employees make demands, withhold information, or give you misleading information in a competitive environment where they feel they have to fight to get a word in (and where it may not be listened to any way). And being a control freak only tells your employees that you don’t trust them to do the job you hired them for.

It’s just not sustainable today.

2. Cooperative

In cooperative communication, your needs are compatible, your influence is a quid pro quo, your communication is moving into a demand/concession with rationale, and trust is shared.

Your employees are not mind readers. Be honest about your expectations and you will see they are more honest about their own.

Be explicit with your rationale.

3. Collaborative

Your needs are interdependent, your influence is maximalist, communication is a creative, problem solving is a joint decision, and trust is explicit.

The golden spot of productivity, engagement, and satisfaction on all sides. Being completely interdependent with the needs of everyone in your company sounds like a big and impossible challenge, but really getting to know the personal and professional goals of your employees on a regular basis is critical in today’s modern organization. And a annual performance reviews are going to cut it. People don’t want you to be efficient with them, they want you to be effective.

Authenticity is critical.

The Takeaway

Collaboration is not a state of being, and certainly not a straight and easy path to success, but a multidimensional path where the gravitational pull is always down. There is no easy fix by simply installing Chatter, having a monthly happy hour, or handing out the company slogan on a t-shirt. It takes work. But surprisingly, less time than cleaning up after the mess of not collaborating. And as a leader, it is up to you to demonstrate that collaboration is your number one priority.

It’s not about what you do to or for your employees that matters, it’s what you do with them.