Look for collaboration beneath the surface

Archaelogists have just discovered an ancient city north of Angkor Wat.  Using lidar they saw that they had been walking over the ancient city for which they were searching. It was buried by time and jungle.

Many organisations need a lidar for collaboration.  

Obsessed with roles, structure and the formal processes of work they are unable to see the collaboration buried beneath the jungle of complexity.

  • Organisation charts and hierarchies don’t explain how work gets done or how information flows.
  • Decision rights might be clearly recorded and followed, but the decisions that get made are influenced by complex webs of human collaboration: influence, culture, trust and the flight of knowledge.
  • Performance measures are usually based on an individual heroic model of performance.  They don’t track of assists, team contributions or enablement.  This approach can force people to avoid collaboration or keep collaboration secret so as not to diminish perceptions of achievements or be seen to be wasting time improving the performance of others.
  • Collaboration is simply not recorded anywhere.  It happens on the phone, in hallways and in meeting rooms with no ability to record it happened, capture or share the value.

If you would like to improve the collaboration in your organisation, ask yourself whether you understand well enough what is already going on.  

Build your own collaboration lidar.  Pulse check activity across the organisation.  Go looking for the collaboration that exists buried in the jungle and do what you can to get your teams to make their relationships, knowledge and collaboration open to the whole organisation.

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