Why Your Collaboration Skills Are Worth A Pay Rise

 In Collaboration, Leadership

Collaborating skills are a precious commodity and CEOs are desperate to acquire and develop people with them. If you have these skills you should be lining up for a pay rise, and here’s why.

Why the focus on collaboration?
The philosophy behind collaboration is that we can achieve more by working together than we can on our own. This is why we create entities like governments, businesses and not-for-profits, to solve the problems we cannot or do not want to coordinate or solve ourselves. As Ken Blanchard noted, “None of us is as smart as us all.”

Every organisation is a collaboration, it takes a lot of coordination and effort to produce goods, services or deliver civic needs. That’s not to say that all collaborations are effective, I’m sure you’ve been frustrated when people behave like they’re in silos, saying things like:

“It’s not my problem”

“I’ve always done it this way”

“We don’t get on with them”

When collaborating across organisational boundaries the complexity level rises and things can go wrong for the simplest of reasons. In a multi-sector project I’m advising on, we’ve seen how an unreturned phone call can be the difference between a young, unemployed person being stuck in a rut or getting the job opportunity they need.

So, let’s look into the reasons why collaboration is highly sought after by CEOs.

Drivers of the trend
There are four driving trends: globalisation, digital models and the IT revolution, the increasing complexity and interconnectedness of problems, and loss of trust in big institutions. New and disruptive business models continue to come out of nowhere, some of which fade quickly whilst others succeed. And the opportunities created by technology will keep on driving massive change.

When the rate of change in the external environment is high, CEOs are under pressure to access new forms of knowledge, skills and resources. As the saying goes, they can either build it, buy it or borrow it, and “borrowing it” via collaborations and partnerships is a very attractive option. Although they have less control over borrowed assets, they get what they need quickly and cheaply. If you can help them in that process where others cannot, you already have a good argument for your pay rise.

You’d think CEOs would first and foremost be preoccupied with increasing shareholder value, right? It turns out that their number one strategic concern is creating inclusive growth, three times more pressing than shareholder value. In other words, they see collaborative cultures and business models as a precondition for driving shareholder returns.

“In today’s world, where everyone is so interconnected and interdependent, it is simply essential that we work for each other’s success.”

– Samuel J. Palmisano, IBM

(Re)building trust between large institutions and the people they serve is a big, hairy problem as evidenced by Edelman surveys. Is it possible to fix them? How do you plot your course? What can you hope to achieve? It can be done by reimagining organisational purpose, strategy and success markers. Some would say that profits will be sacrificed in that process, however I take the contrarian view that clarity around purpose is a precondition for an abundance of commercial success. Applying shared value principles brings profit and purpose together, putting you in control.

Challenges faced
Collaboration is often framed as an internal challenge for teams. Well, the game is getting bigger! Collaboration skills help you traverse that increasingly critical area that sits outside of your traditional field of operations, where you need to work with stakeholders that you haven’t dealt with in the past.

For example, I know of an insurance company that’s working hands on with grassroots enterprises and community organisations as it tries to create new business models. Why? Because it believes it will  lead to innovate ways of saving on claims, accessing to new and growing market segments and differentiating its brands.

You and your fellow leaders are dealing with (warning! trendy management term approaching) VUCA and collaborating effectively helps you respond with confidence and deliver on the relentless performance that is expected of you.

“Leaders should form relationships with the governments and regulatory bodies that shape the ‘rules of the road’, work collaboratively with them to create and sustain a fair, just, and equitable marketplace, and partner with communities and educational institutions to … thrive”

– Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends 2018

It comes down to choice: maintaining the status quo is like being a rabbit in the headlights, the alternative is to start creating or building on the foundations you already have.

Do you deserve your pay rise?
In coming weeks and months I’ll be mapping out the pathways to attaining the skills you need. We’ll look into principles, behaviours and leadership skills. And I’ll be outlining what it takes to create a culture of collaboration and high performance in your organisation.

I’d like to think we’ll take that journey together – it will give you perspective on whether it is the right time to have a crack at that pay rise!

Phil Preston is a speaker and facilitator who creates collaborative teams, cultures and strategies. You can stay in touch by following him on Linked In or contacting him directly .

Commercial images courtesy of shutterstock.com

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