On Wednesday 15th November the Collaborative Working Mentors came together to hear from Howard Betts on Leadership for Effective Collaboration and further planning around the Collaborative Alliancing event the group hope to hold in March.
Leadership for Effective Collaboration
What Is Collaboration?
Collaboration is the process of two or more people/ organisations intentionally working together to achieve a specific shared goal.
Collaboration should be something that is entered into intentionally with the aim of achieving a shared purpose, and should be underpinned by organisational processes that support collaboration- a collaborative culture.
Culture for Collaboration
The organisational processes that enable collaboration could include the visible processes such as an organisation’s vision, mission, structure, job descriptions, goals, strategies, policies, tasks, roles, reward schemes, etc.
Or the invisible aspects such as culture, decision making, group dynamics, beliefs, attitudes, personality, stress, etc.
All of these things, impact an organisation’s culture and ability to collaborate effectively.
HM Treasury Collaboration Model
The HM Treasury model of collaboration, outlined in the HM Treasury Alliancing Best Practice In Infrastructure Delivery, identifies 4 key areas of an organisation:
The model states that collaboration can only occur when these 4 areas overlap and if one of these areas is failing, little collaboration can take place. Therefore, it’s important to establish where the challenges to collaboration are coming from in order to find solution.
Forces For and Against Collaboration
One method of identifying potential challenges to collaboration, as well as, forces working in its favour, is via a forcefield analysis approach in which forces for/against are listed and then compared to see which force in stronger within an organisation. Forces against collaboration can then be tackled and potentially solved.
In January 2023, the Construction Industry Collaboration Initiative (CICI) conducted some research into this area and published the findings which can be read here.
A collaborative culture needs to be embedded at all levels of an organisation through the strategy, people and tasks. Therefore, it is important that leaders are able to focus their attention where needed i.e the creation and implementation of strategy rather than entering a ‘firefighting’ situation in which leaders are stuck work at a task level.
Leadership Levels should ideally look like the image below:
Culture and Strategy
Strategy must be created with an awareness of the organisation’s culture, including strengths, behaviours, values, habits, etc. This will ensure the strategy works with the culture of the organisation rather than existing as 2 separate entities, enabling collaboration to thrive, not fail.