Tips on Developing a Collaborative Mindset

In business and life, there are often moments when one simply can’t seem to find a way forward. A collaborative mindset is a critical part of the path ahead.

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We are used to changing individual habits like eating, exercising or being more organized, but we are not prepared to change habits as a group.

These “team habits” represent the effectiveness of collective execution.

As collective execution represents the behaviors linked to culture and morale, clear and aligned expectations will optimize performance and relationships for sustainable results. It also automatically represents the highest values of any organization including trust, integrity, accountability, ethical behavior, balance, fairness, partnership, and learning.

While new technology and lean processes can improve an organization’s effectiveness, it doesn’t prevent the leadership breakdowns brought on by ineffective decision-making, poor coordination between divisions and functions, unresolved problems or conflicts that result in crisis, or conflicting priorities that are resolved with silo thinking

These breakdowns aren’t process-based, skill-based or even-awareness based. These breakdowns represent the “collective execution” of the organization – the link between groups and people to produce business results. It’s the foundation of excellence for any top performing professional athletic team. Yet, this is largely ignored in businesses throughout the world.

While some cultures are different, most organizations focus on individual achievement and autonomy – optimize your individual performance while supporting your team, your organization and your customer.

Without established and agreed upon expectations, people naturally rely on their own individual preferences, styles and functional priorities in the way the they execute – without true accountability to anyone for their approach.

Collective execution represents achievement of business results and the true organization’s culture because it reflects actual behaviors. We know that the only way to change a habit, individually or collectively, is to replace the existing habit with a new habit.

Five Steps: This process will develop team habits to transform culture & business results at the same time:

Step 1: Clarify the external drivers resulting in the need for transforming business results and culture.

External drivers are represented by the economy, competition, new technology, new customer demands, and changing government regulation – all which you don’t control but must respond to for growing your business.

Step 2: Develop an agreed upon B STATE Picture of Success that includes:

            • a clear and complete description of what the business will look like in 1 to 3 years (based on the scope and urgency of change)

            • expected results that will be produced by the organization in that time period

            • fundamental changes in collective execution necessary to support achieving those expected results.

Step 3: Redefine the “collective role” for senior management, middle management, line management and front-line employees.

Based solely on the B STATE Picture of Success:

            • expand each level of leadership’s role to emphasize their collective accountability for business and culture transformation.

            • define the expectations of front-line employees on being engaged in the transformation.

Step 4: Bring natural cross-functional teams together at senior and middle management levels (separately) to develop their own set of team habits for optimal collective execution.

Team habits describe in detail (clear criteria and expectations for execution) how they will be functioning differently with each other in the future to prevent common breakdowns that currently take place.

Step 5: Measure

            • Create a baseline measure for the current effectiveness of each team habit

            • Select the most important habits for improvement based on desired business outcomes and develop a clear plan/agreement for upgrading performance

            • Measure results in three to six months, based on urgency, and adjust as necessary.

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