June 8, 2011

How Do You Know When You Have Reached a Collaborative Culture?

‘Tis my naivety or perhaps it’s my over exuberance for corporate culture karma.

Someday, whilst I still inhabit this fine planet of ours, I believe all organizations will be brimming across the diversity of employees, departments and business units truly demonstrating and employing a collaborative culture.

Like Peanut to Butter.

Like Stanley to Cup.

Like Arc to Triomphe.

Like Training to Wreck.

But I digress.

The question we might ask is when will we reach that pinnacle point? What are the indicators that point to us stating, “yes, this is destination pervasive collaboration”. The stage at which the individual behaviour of being continuous, authentic, receptive and enriching is no longer taught; it’s natural. The organizational inflection point that drives non abnormal behaviours (or simply ‘normal’ if you don’t prefer double negatives) between teams, departments and business units demonstrating that hierarchy, fiefdoms, silos or egos are no longer the root cause of carcinogenic cultures.

Sadly, I am not in possession of a collaboration crystal ball. I tried the Ouija board; that didn’t work either. Her response was, “When either Chelsea wins the Champions League or the Toronto Maple Leafs wins the Stanley Cup.”

That could be forever. Literally.

So, as a natural next step, I put the question out to the Twitterverse and was handed a smorgasbord of European, American and Canadian thoughts. Several of the ones that caught my attention include the following:

  • I love how Simon infers it’s at the point when the top leader of a company is open, reflective and humble.

  • On the tools side, Holly sees the point being when we utilize collaboration technologies to collectively create an objective or action whereas Peter wants the tools to be always on and available, not accessible or installable on a permission basis. And Steven speaks to the ubiquitous silo of email attachments. So true.


  • LearningPlan’s comment resonates highly with me. In fact, in the book I’m writing, I actually speak of there being two families; your blood family and your work family. Why shouldn’t the same behaviours be demonstrated in both arenas?

  • I’ll leave the last word to Jane and Mark, both indicating it’s the point at which we stop talking about it and that the behaviours are naturally a part of our day-to-day work life.



If you didn’t see my question posed via the Tweet, I (and others who are reading) would love to hear your thoughts as well by posting a comment.

How do you know when you have reached a collaborative culture?

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