– a way to accelerate innovation, time to market and business growth in new areas.
Keywords: Cross-organisational collaboration, Cross-functional collaboration, External collaboration, Innovation
In the current business environment, solutions created within business units are not enough to deliver on growth strategies. We see an increasing demand for cross-organisational and external collaboration.
To speed up more radical innovation and reduce time to market, leaders are required to collaborate more skilfully. This collaboration encompasses: 1. Collaborating across the organisation - taking an enterprise leadership perspective and not only focus on their own part of the business. And 2. Collaborating externally - looking with an open mind and a broader scope to find partners that have the capacity to transform the current solutions.
We still meet many leaders who state that the cross-organisational and external collaboration is what they focus on after they have their own house in order – their team, function and business unit. However, in today’s environment, this order may never come, leaving only a little time for a very vague and sporadic focus on collaboration.
Two things seem to get in the way of collaboration:
- Arrogance with a touch of entitlement: The claim that we are no. 1 or 2 in the market and the best to develop new solutions. Other partners would just be lucky to work with us.
- Scepticism with a pinch of gloom: Arguments such as “It will take too long to collaborate” or “We will make less money if we collaborate”.
There is often a grain of truth in the arrogance and the scepticism. That is why they are such powerful positions. But will these positions help leaders grow their business in new areas?
When we look at our client data, the answer is clear: Seeking and pursuing new opportunities through collaboration is increasingly a requirement of leaders. For many leaders, it will take a shift in mind-set as well as learning and practicing of new skills before they excel in cross-organisational and external collaboration and encourage their people to collaborate as well.