In the first article of this six-part series we introduced the four workplace cultures: Defensive, Paternalistic, Open, and Collaborative. In this fifth installment, we’ll reveal the the only truly effective culture: The Collaborative workplace.
In the Collaborative workplace the more people know, the more they can contribute. Employees are able to explain how their work contributes to the mission and vision of the organization, and how they demonstrate the company’s values every day. They are able to do so because they’re briefed regularly on the long-term goals of the company, how those goals were determined, and how those goals influence their current priorities.
Do you recognize these Collaborative workplace features?
- Employees are valued and respected for their contributions
- There is no feeling of hierarchy because people act as if they’re on the same level
- People are free to make decisions about their work, because they are knowledgable
- When employees are on-boarded, they receive a thorough orientation and understand how they fit into the goals of the organization
- Individual development is based on strengths and personal career goals
- Employees are rewarded for challenging the status quo and being innovative
- Employees and management have complete trust and confidence in one another
- People practice active problem prevention, but when problems do come up, they are solved collaboratively, and in a structured way
The 5 C’s of a Collaborative Workplace
The following five characteristics are the foundation of a Collaborative workplace:
Confidence – In the Collaborative Workplace, coworkers have complete confidence and trust in one another. But confidence doesn’t come about by accident. The Collaborative Workplace is supported by tools to convey what’s expected of everyone, and people from all levels of the organization use these tools to build trusting relationships.
Conversations – There are three types of conversations that team members in a Collaborative Workplace must master:
Coaching Conversations are a tool for solving problems, generating ideas, and encouraging others to succeed.
Straight-Talk Conversations are a tool for bringing up a difficult problem or something that’s bothering you with someone else.
Agreement-Building Conversations are a tool for building alignment and making sure that everyone is on the same page.
Clarity – What’s the risk if your team lacks focus, clarity, or alignment of purpose? You end up long on ideas and short on execution. Or worse, good people make bad decisions. In business, the stakes are simply too high to allow that to happen.
Courage – “What’s the most important or difficult issue that I need to solve right now?” You should always know the answer to that question and have the courage to start working on it as soon as you identify it. Don’t be afraid to confront it. Don’t be afraid to tackle it.
Commitment – To influence others to commit to a solution or strategy, you have to take their interests into consideration. What’s needed is a simple, surefire tool for building commitment in any group or one-on-one setting. That method is the Five Questions.
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Honestly… what have you got to lose?
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