5 Ways to Break Barriers for a More Collaborative Work Culture

5 Ways to Break Barriers for a More Collaborative Work Culture
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Many Leaders Strive for a More Collaborative Work Culture
Many organizations are structured around functional silos.  If you want a more collaborative work culture, one that depends on achieving company-wide and team goals rather than specialized goals, you need to break down the barriers that keep your functions and employees in silos. Departments or teams that work in isolation can decrease efficiencies and innovation and work against common strategic goals.

Overcoming Silos is Important
A recent survey from the American Management Association showed that eighty-three percent of executives said that silos existed in their companies and that 97% think that silos have a negative effect on organizational health, performance, and customer experience.  While silos can foster powerful expertise and focus, executives who want to fuel high levels of company-wide growth complain that silos lack the necessary levels of transparency and permeability between functions to maximize synergies.

Timely Information Flow Matters Across Teams
In fact, your company’s ability to innovate, grow, and stay competitive may depend upon your company’s ability to share:

  • What they know
  • What they can do
  • How they can help

Our Organizational Alignment Research found that “timely information flow across the company” ranked as the fourth biggest differentiator between high and low performing organizations in terms of profitable revenue growth, customer retention, leadership effectiveness, and employee engagement. A more collaborative culture is a smart way to unleash your company’s true potential.

Five Ways to Break Barriers for a More Collaborative Work Culture
Here are five ways you can crash through silos and those walls that restrict the power of effective collaboration at work:

  1. Get Your CEO and Senior Leadership Team On Board
    Influence company leadership so they understand their role in building a collaborative work culture. The work force will take their cues on accepted company norms 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 collaborative culture you desire.
  3. Reinforce Desired Behaviors Through Accountability and Transparency
    Positive change is unlikely to happen unless you are consistent in (1) measuring and rewarding the desired behaviors and (2) having consequences for the silo-building behaviors.  Employees across the board need to be monitored – no exceptions.

    If you allow a top performer 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 Workplace 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. High performing leaders hire and promote people who sincerely want to contribute to the 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, manage conflict, and focus on ways to work productively.

The Bottom Line
Organizational culture accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies. If your strategy depends upon collaboration across functions, be proactive about creating a more collaborative work culture that you know will help your people and your business thrive.

To learn about the steps required to create a more collaborative work culture, download The 3 Levels of a High Performance Culture that You Must Get Right to Beat the Competition

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