5 Ways to Break Barriers for a More Collaborative Culture

A man is using a sledgehammer to break through a wall

If you want a more collaborative culture, one that depends on achieving company-wide and team goals rather than individual goals, you need to break down the barriers that keep your functions and employees in silos.

In fact, your company’s ability to grow and stay competitive may depend upon your company’s ability to share what they know, what they can do and how they can help. Our Organizational Alignment Research found that “timely information flow across the company” ranked as the 4th biggest differentiator between high and low performing organizations. A more collaborative culture is a smart way to unleash your company’s true potential.

Here are 5 ways you can crash through those walls that restrict the power of effective collaboration:

  1. Get your CEO and senior leadership on board.
    Influence company leadership so they understand their key role in building a collaborative organizational culture. The work force will take their cues on accepted company culture from those who lead them. Leadership must consistently set the example. Everyone in a supervisory position needs to model the desired behavior—no silos tolerated.
  2. Clearly define how you expect employees to behave.
    Make sure every employee understands what it means to collaborate and how collaboration looks day in and day out. In other words, you need to make sure the work force knows how their specific and observable actions contribute to the kind of culture you desire.
  3. Reinforce desired behaviors through accountability.
    Positive change is unlikely to happen unless you are consistent in measuring and rewarding the positive behaviors and having consequences for the silo-building behaviors. Employees across the board need to be monitored…no exceptions. If you allow a top salesperson to get away with looking only toward individual goals and not cooperating with team members to help achieve team goals, your initiative will quickly lose credibility and the change effort will fail.
  4. Hire and promote with your desired culture in mind.
    Talent alone should not drive your hiring or promotions. You want employees who reinforce the team culture you are striving to create. Hire and promote people who sincerely want to contribute to a team’s success by sharing information, resources, and points of view.
  5. Foster the kind of open communication that supports strong relationships.
    Make sure that the individuals on your team know how to communicate effectively. You want an environment where people can speak honestly and with respect. You need communicators who know how to build rapport, effectively address conflict and focus on ways to work productively.

Organizational culture matters a lot. Be proactive about creating the corporate culture you know will help your company thrive now and into the future.

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