• Micha Veen

Why is “integrated value collaboration” the next level of collaboration?


Many organisations use “collaboration” to strengthen the focus on close team performance. However, many organisations forget that collaboration actually means a working practice whereby individuals or employees work together to deliver a common purpose and achieve a business benefit.

I have come across many magazine, business newspaper and on-line articles that describe the growing importance of a committed, engaged workforce or team that is able to drive “your” business forward in the current global economic climate. It highlights the importance of investing in departmental or organisational collaboration, but also identifies the need to look beyond the organisational boundaries and introduce cross-organisational collaboration partnerships.

Having worked and implemented Global Business Services, Shared Services and delivered BPO engagements through Operational Innovation frameworks, I have seen the importance of creating a truly integrated collaborative business environment to introduce innovative ideas that ultimately are transformed into sustainable business benefits and organisational value.

Recently, I have been working with some of the leading Australian businesses to transition collaboration to the next level, introducing “integrated value collaboration”. This type of collaboration is focussed on:-

  • Cross-functional collaboration to deliver coherent business opportunities and innovative ideas that benefit different organisational units and the business as a whole. Instead of delivering business value for a single department or organisational unit, this type of collaboration is focussed on delivering operational and business benefits for multiple departments, multiple business units or across organisations,

  • Delivering continuous, sustainable operational and business value. This type of collaboration is not a one-time effort, but is aimed to be continuous. Operational or business value, in this context, can be seen as revenue, profitability or cost reductions. Overall, “value” should be directly linked to the strategic business goals and targets,

  • Collaboration across different levels, skills, experiences. Collaboration sessions between only managers or only analysts or only senior executives will deliver a common purpose, but will not deliver the expected value. The key of integrated value collaboration is to create teams from different functional areas (preferably cross-functional “specialists”) and different organisational levels. I have even included external partners, as I have seen how they have been able to create additional value to the strategic business goals

To create true integrated value collaboration in “your” organisation, you should consider the following:

  • Create a supportive collaboration work environment, which encourages collaborative working and rewards these behaviours. For example, organisations can link the employee’s performance management “bonus” or metrics to how effective they collaborate with their co-workers and the value that this creates. A supportive environment also should provide training and education resources to allow the employees to grow through obtaining the skills, experience and behavioural methods to deliver in a collaborative environment.

  • No Ego's. It’s crucial that “ego’s are left at the front door”. This requires collaboration with your peers, your teams and managers and a willingness to have “your” ideas modified. If your ego can't handle that, stay away,

  • Different business insights, views and experiences. To grow your business, it’s crucial to obtain different (internal and external) business insights, views and experiences. Although experience provides valuable perspectives, it’s important that the individuals base their findings and recommendations on rigorous analysis and are able to clearly communicate these,

  • Depending on the cross-functional experience and knowledge maturity levels of the team, external assistance or leadership might be needed to guide your team to deliver business value through integrated value collaboration,

  • Collaboration should never be seen as an additional activity, task or additional work for employees. Creating true integrated value collaboration ensures that the cross-functional individuals and employees provide operational innovative solutions, which naturally fit into their flow of work,

  • Adopt and Evolve. It’s important to remember that collaboration is perpetual. It’s a never-ending evolution as new tools and strategies for the workplace continue to emerge. This means that it’s important for the organisation to be able to adapt and evolve as things change. Keep a pulse on what’s going on in the industry and inside of the organisation. This will allow you to operationally innovate and continuously anticipate…

Through my iterative Operational Innovation approach, I been privileged to introduce integrated value collaboration with high-performing, cross-functional teams across different departments, different organisations and across the end-to-end value chain. I have found that through embedding this behaviour and these ways-of-working, organisations have been able to deliver a direct impact and over-achieve their departmental, business unit and organisational goals within 6-8 weeks

If you’re open to adopt a new approach, from the traditional project management or change management approach to a more “included” organisational delivery approach with your existing employees, don’t hesitate to contact Unique Excellence for an investigative conversation.

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