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Why Collaboration Matters

Why Collaboration Matters | Collaboration |

Great interview with Ron Ricci, VP at Cisco. Along with Carl Wiese, he co-authored The Collaboration Imperative: Executive Strategies for Unlocking Your Organization’s True Potential. 


In the book they identify four executive behaviors of the collaborative leader.


These behaviors are the necessary ingredients to create a culture of shared goals, and eliminate or mitigate the types of human behaviors that slow organizations down. The four behaviors are:


1. Focus on authentic leadership and eschew passive-aggressiveness.

For collaboration to succeed, leaders need to be authentic. Cisco studied which characteristics of leaders on collaborative teams are most important, and we found that the most critical attribute was a leader’s willingness to follow through on commitments. Being authentic involves two elements. First, as a leader of a team, department or business unit with people, budgets and resources under your control, you must follow through on organizational commitments. Second, when there is disagreement about a decision, fight the instinct to make it personal.


2. Relentlessly pursue transparent decision making.

There’s a direct relationship between the agility and resilience of a team and the transparency of its decision-making processes. When you’re open and transparent about the answers to three questions — who made the decision, who is accountable for the outcomes of the decision, and is that accountability real—people in organizations spend far less time questioning how or why a decision was made. Think of how much time is wasted ferreting out details when a decision is made and communicated because the people who are affected don’t know who made the decision or who is accountable for its consequences.


3. View resources as instruments of action, not as possessions.

It’s hardly a new observation that people sometimes stockpile resources around their business unit or department, or are slow—perhaps even hesitant—to share those resources with other departments. There may even be incentives in place that discourage sharing. It’s easier, although never truly easy, to move resources around an organization when leaders tell their teams the process they used to make a decision about resources, the data and facts used to support the decision, and the tradeoffs they considered. Fact-based decision making is your goal; it’s hard to keep resources squirreled away when the facts suggest otherwise.


4. Codify the relationship between decision rights, accountability and rewards.

Modeling the desired collaborative behaviors—showing your employees that you walk the talk—is the goal. But what happens when you’re not around? The more these behaviors are codified into an end-to-end system across your organization, the greater the odds of collaboration succeeding when you’re not there to reinforce cultural norms. The most important enabler of an accountability system? Decision rights. Who gets to make decisions in your organization is the center of gravity for accountability. If you don’t have published decision rights, then accountability is problematic – everyone can point fingers at someone else.


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About Collaboration

About Collaboration | Collaboration |


I believe that knowledge is everything. Knowledge is ideas. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is hope. 

But only if it is shared and applied.

That is why I created Collaboration on My personal aim is to provide you with stories you can learn and grow from. The kind of stories that provokes personal reflection and constructive action. 

I'm co-founder of FutureShifts, a consultancy that helps visionary companies identify and tackle the big shifts in the world by cultivating the skills, mindsets, behaviors and organizational cultures needed to succeed in times of change.

You're welcome to connect via: 






I hope you'll be inspired.





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Why do we cooperate?

Why do we cooperate? | Collaboration |

Why do people cooperate?

This isn’t a question anyone seriously asks. The answer is obvious: we cooperate because doing so is usually synergistic. It creates more benefit for less cost and makes our lives easier and better.

Maybe it’s better to ask why don’t people always cooperate. But the answer here seems obvious too. We don’t do so if we think we can get away with it. If we can save ourselves the effort of working with someone else but still gain the benefits of others’ cooperation. And, perhaps, we withhold cooperation as punishment for others’ past refusal to collaborate with us.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Since there are good reasons to cooperate – and good reasons not to do so – we are left with a question without an obvious answer: under what conditions will people cooperate?

WebGems SNMinc's comment, March 27, 4:46 AM
I think people cooperate for mutual benefits. As you said they can do more when they are united. It also depends on other factors such as their circumstances, the way they grew up and more..
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Why Remote Work Thrives in Some Companies and Fails in Others

Why Remote Work Thrives in Some Companies and Fails in Others | Collaboration |

Since people began telecommuting decades ago, companies have been excited about the prospects to increase productivity, reduce costs, and gain access to a much larger talent pool.

But has remote work lived up to the hype?

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Many companies focus too much on technology and not enough on process. This is akin to trying to fix a sports team’s performance by buying better equipment. These adjustments alone might result in minor improvements, but real change requires a return to fundamentals.

Successful remote work is based on three core principles: communication, coordination, and culture.

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The Workplace in the Digital Age

The workplace in the digital age. How a digital workplace can support business goals and help bring a shared sense of purpose to an organization. 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Facts and figures from the 2015 digital workplace survey by Jane McConnell. This report is the most extensive and interesting piece of research on the digital workplace. A highly recommended read. 

Read also Rawn Shah's article on Forbes related to the report: The Leadership Paradox Of Shared Purpose.

You should also follow Jane on Twitter here: @netjmc.

BertVries's curator insight, February 25, 10:01 AM

The 2015 digital workplace survey by Jane McConnell. This report is the most extensive and interesting piece of research on the digital workplace. A highly recommended read.

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Becoming irresistible: A new model for employee engagement

Becoming irresistible: A new model for employee engagement | Collaboration |

The employee-work contract has changed, compelling business leaders to build organizations that engage employees as sensitive, passionate, creative contributors.

The employee-work contract has changed: People are operating more like free agents than in the past. In short, the balance of power has shifted from employer to employee, forcing business leaders to learn how to build an organization that engages employees as sensitive, passionate, creative contributors.

Two years of research and discussions with hundreds of clients suggest five major elements and underlying strategies that work together to make organizations “irresistible.”

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Deloitte's  research suggests that we need to rethink the problem. There are three issues to address:

  1. Companies need to expand their thinking about what “engagement” means today, giving managers and leaders specific practices they can adopt, and holding line leaders accountable. Here Deloitte suggests 5 elements and 20 specific practices.
  2. Companies need tools and methods that measure and capture employee feedback and sentiment on a real-time, local basis so they can continuously adjust management practices and the work environment at a local level. These tools include employee feedback systems as well as data analytics systems that help identify and predict factors that create low engagement and retention problems.
  3. Leaders in business and HR need to raise employee engagement from an HR program to a core business strategy.
A recommended piece of work by Josh Bersin at Bersin by Deloitte.

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Sharing is Our Competitive Advantage

Sharing is Our Competitive Advantage | Collaboration |

What made Homo sapiens different from the Neanderthals was most likely our social abilities and behaviors, how we behave as a collective. As a human species we have always been very focused on communicating and transferring knowledge. Not only from one person to another, but also parent to child. This way, the next generation can build further on the collective knowledge of the previous generation.

Via David Hain
David Hain's curator insight, December 12, 2014 2:07 AM

Our ability to share and collaborate has stood humans apart for millennia - now we need to up the game again!

Miguel Herrera E.'s curator insight, December 13, 2014 8:44 AM

Lo Importante la transmisión de las  habilidades sociales y la comunicación y transferencia del conocimiento.

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What’s Lost When Experts Retire

What’s Lost When Experts Retire | Collaboration |

Across the globe, there is a tsunami of Baby Boomer retirements. This is good news for them and for the younger colleagues who will take their place. But what does this mean in terms of losing business-critical, experience-based knowledge — what we call deep smarts? One organization reported that the next anticipated wave of almost 700 retirements would mean the loss of over 27,000 years of experience.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Managers often don’t know what they have lost until after the expert leaves — and by then, it may be difficult to recover.

Typically companies experience critical losses in four areas: relationships, reputation, re-work and regeneration.

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The Culture Deck

The Culture Deck | Collaboration |

This essay links to most of the best research on culture.

Skim it quickly to get a sense of what’s here (5-7 min). At the end, there’s a reference section linking to key content, so you don’t have to hunt for it. When you have more time, read it from top to bottom (20 min ).

David Siegel also shows how to generate a culture score for your company and work to improve it. Finally, by clicking on embedded links and reading suggested books, it becomes a full 3-6 month course on culture that  will help lead companies to create this important role.

Don’t think of this as a long post — think of it as a short e-book.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

One word: Excellence! A goldmine of resources on organizational culture. 

You can follow David Siegel on Twitter here: @PullNews

Corinne Chauffrut Werner 's curator insight, November 28, 2014 2:27 AM

A lire


Paul O'Dwyer's curator insight, November 29, 2014 7:41 PM

The best research on culture.  Create a cultural score for your company to start improving it...

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Networks are the Key to Accelerate Change

Networks are the Key to Accelerate Change | Collaboration |

In Kotter’s new book, Accelerate, he points to the use of networks as the true accelerator behind organizational transformation. He recognizes the strategic agility and speed that activated networks play in creating swift and lasting change.

Via HR Trend Institute
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Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact

Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact | Collaboration |

Successful networks are designed - they don’t just happen. Knowing a network’s essential design issues - and how to make and when to change design choices - is a crucial part of the practice of building effective social-impact networks.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Eight design issues that should be addressed during start-up or readdressed during any time of significant transition or trouble in a network’s life:

  1. Purpose: what is the network’s reason for being?

  2. Membership: who is eligible to become a member, what are the membership requirements, and how many members will there be?

  3. Value Propositions: what will be the benefits of membership— for individuals and collectively?

  4. Coordination, Facilitation, and Communication: how will network members link and work with each other? 

  5. Resources: what is the network’s funding model?

  6. Governance: who decides what the network will do, and how do 
they decide?

  7. Assessment: how will the network monitor its condition and 

  8. Operating Principles: what rules will guide the network’s culture?

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Principles of Agility

Dave Gray explains how companies can become more connected and effective at delivering better experiences.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

The content in this presentation will be included in a new book by Dave. Meanwhile, you can follow Dave on Twitter here: @davegray.

I also strongly encourage you to read Dave and Thomas Vander Val's latest book, The Connected Company

David Hain's curator insight, October 20, 2014 2:48 AM

What's The Connected Company all about? Find out here.

Karine Mangion's curator insight, October 20, 2014 6:09 AM

Applying Agile principles to academia, a possible way-forward in a fast changing and competitive environment. 

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Decentralized Firms are More Recession-Proof

Decentralized Firms are More Recession-Proof | Collaboration |

The worldwide “Great Recession,” which got into full swing in 2008 after Lehman’s collapse, sparked heated debate over which organizational structures are best in helping companies weather severe economic crises.

Should several local managers have the ability to make important decisions, or should just a few top executives make the aggressive and challenging choices, over layoffs and cost-cutting, that often accompany bad economic times?

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Bloom’s paper, coauthored with Philippe Aghion of Harvard University, Raffaella Sadun of Harvard Business School, and John Van Reenen of the Centre for Economic Performance at London School of Economics, examined company performance just before and during the Great Recession and found that firms that decentralized their decision making had lower falls in their sales and faster increases in their productivity than those with a centralized structure.

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9 Steps To Corporate Culture-Change

9 Steps To Corporate Culture-Change | Collaboration |

Here’s a cultural change checklist for leaders: a quick list of what is required if you want to guide your company culture to a high and sustainable level of customer-centricity and customer experience excellence.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

It's a fine list, but I miss the starting point for creating a sustainable corporate culture: A company's purpose. Start by defining WHY your company exists. 

Stephen Dale's curator insight, September 29, 2014 5:30 AM

An informed list, but sadly I wonder how many corporates do all of this - especially no 9.


Reading time: 6 mins

Jacob M Engel's curator insight, October 1, 2014 6:49 AM

Always ask the why! 

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Building a Collaborative Enterprise

Building a Collaborative Enterprise | Collaboration |

Collaborative communities encourage people to continually apply their unique talents to group projects—and to become motivated by a collective mission, not just personal gain or the intrinsic pleasures of autonomous creativity. By marrying a sense of common purpose to a supportive structure, organizations are mobilizing knowledge workers’ talents and expertise in flexible, highly manageable group-work efforts. The approach fosters not only innovation and agility but also efficiency and scalability.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Four keys to creating a culture of trust and teamwork. 

One of the principles mentioned in this article is shared purpose

In focusing on a shared purpose collaborative communities seek a basis for trust and organizational cohesion that is more robust than self-interest. 

A shared purpose is not the verbiage on a poster or in a document, and it doesn’t come via charismatic leaders’ pronouncements. It is multidimensional, practical, and constantly enriched in debates about concrete problems.

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Collaboration, from the Wright Brothers to Robots

Collaboration, from the Wright Brothers to Robots | Collaboration |

Watson and Crick. Braque and Picasso. The Wright Brothers. Wozniak and Jobs … and Jony Ive. Great collaborations all. Transformative. But what really made them work? How did collaborative relationships so ingeniously amplify individual talent and impact? Was there a secret to success?

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Work has changed, and so has how we work together.

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Can You Design an Organisation?

Can You Design an Organisation? | Collaboration |

Organisational “master builders” are defined by their problem-solving acumen, not just their experience.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

The fundamental challenge in organisational design is managing the tension between division of labour and integration of efforts. People often make the mistake of emphasising the former at the expense of the latter. They may devise an organisational structure that contains all the units required to perform desired tasks, but fails to provide the information links between units and the motivational mechanisms  necessary for effective value capture. 

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Collaboration in 2015 : Between email and new interfaces

Collaboration in 2015 : Between email and new interfaces | Collaboration |

What's new in 2015 in collaboration : the email client strikes back, intelligent agents and new interfaces between people.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

This is a fine blog post by Bertrand Duperrin. Bertran takes a closer look at the current status of enterprise social networks.

In the blog post Bertrans writes: 

We have a problem with social collaboration. A problem that’s not about technology but as long as we don’t manage to handle the human and organizational side of digital transformation, enterprise social networks go to businesses like a screen door on a submarine.

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Culture Can Make or Break Strategy

Culture Can Make or Break Strategy | Collaboration |

Without a deep and accurate assessment of their organisation’s culture, boards and management teams will find it very challenging to initiate and implement strategic change.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

A company however big or small, cannot successfully implement corporate strategy without employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.

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The Synchronized Organization

The Synchronized Organization | Collaboration |

We can no longer rely on hierarchies. The problem is not that they have suddenly become illegitimate, but that they are slow and the world has become fast. It is no longer enough to merely plan and direct action, today we must inspire and empower movements of belief.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Research into network science has begun to shed light on how synchronization happens and how we can make our enterprises function more effectively.

Geemik Maria Açucena Da Silva's curator insight, December 9, 2014 4:00 AM

3So in addition to the role in formulating strategy and optimizing financial performance, managers must also seek to create synchronized organizations to carry out strategic intent. That requires a focus on small groups, loosely connected but united by a shared context.3

David Hain's curator insight, December 11, 2014 7:03 AM

Synchronisation (addressing dysfunction) requires a focus on small groups, loosely connected but united by a shared context.

Evoluo's curator insight, January 26, 4:30 PM

Votre organisation est-elle synchronisée ?

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The Tactics of Collaboration

The Tactics of Collaboration | Collaboration |

Understanding the tactics of collaboration can help make the unique value of working well together real. It’s important because the whole—all of us, humanity—can be greater than the sum of our parts. We often discuss collaboration in terms of its relationship to competition; competition, at its best, can make each part more valuable and more effective, but collaboration adds value to the whole by focusing on how the parts work together.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Moving beyond platitude and exploring how to operationalize collaboration.

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Building a Storytelling Culture

Building a Storytelling Culture | Collaboration |

A vibrant storytelling culture means the difference between whether your organization has a living, breathing portfolio of different stories, from different perspectives, that share its impact—or just a single, somewhat stagnant story. It’s the difference between having one person in the organization dedicated to storytelling (whether that’s the CEO, development director, or head of communications) and everyone in the organization having compelling stories at their fingertips. And for many organizations, it’s the difference between investing in telling the organization’s story in a more compelling way—or not investing.

Via Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor
Dheeraj Gulia's comment, December 2, 2014 4:12 AM
Michael Williams StoryCoaching's curator insight, December 5, 2014 6:56 AM

A storytelling culture creates a healthy organisation. Julie Dixon's work is well-researched and useful to anyone working to improve organisational health.

Birgit Plange's curator insight, December 5, 2014 7:49 AM

…and we are paid storytellers. We need testimonials, good AND short ones. Thats what people remember most. and an one very important point how my husband and I build our business.

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Social Business Is Dead . . .

Social Business Is Dead . . . | Collaboration |

Social media has changed business practice dramatically — but now the very nature of social business is itself transforming.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Today, being effective at social business is requiring greater sophistication across multiple digital domains. Companies must have the talent necessary to make sense of the data generated by social platforms and the operational infrastructure in place to respond quickly to real-time events.

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Technology isn’t working

Technology isn’t working | Collaboration |

The digital revolution has yet to fulfill its promise of higher productivity and better jobs. 

This report from The Economist states that new technology haven't boosted productivity (apart from a brief period between 1996 and 2004). This is known as the Solow paradox.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Until governments solve that problem, the productivity effects of this technological revolution will remain disappointing. The impact on workers, by contrast, is already blindingly clear.

Gary Bamford's curator insight, October 27, 2014 2:48 AM

Are we hitting the limits?

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How to Build a Culture of Givers: 4 Tips

How to Build a Culture of Givers: 4 Tips | Collaboration |

Nice guys don't have to finish last in your company. But it means you need to bake generosity into your culture. Wharton B-school professor Adam Grant explains how.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Below are four tips from Grant for building a culture of givers: 

1. Get the right people on the bus

2. Redefine giving

3. Change your reward system 

4. Build a culture of help-seeking

Other resources related to Adam's great work:  

David Hain's curator insight, October 17, 2014 2:27 AM

Are you a giver, a matcher or a taker? Companies need more givers at the top, because the fish always rots from the head!

John Michel's curator insight, October 25, 2014 9:20 AM

Givers are the kinds of people who will go out of their way to help others with no strings attached. This is in comparison to matchers--those who believe in an eye for an eye--and takers--people who are always trying to get as much as they can out of others. 

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Culture Feasts on Innovation: Here's What you Can Do About It

You can have the best talent, best ideas, best processes, abundance of cash.  If your culture does not align, being successful with innovating starts looking as if it’s a matter of luck.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

A fine Slideshare presentation by Reuven Gorsht. 

Gary Bamford's curator insight, October 14, 2014 2:58 AM

Love the 5-monkeys slides - make sure you view them ;) 

Ian Berry's curator insight, October 14, 2014 11:26 PM

I have a different view I believe innovation feasts on culture as much as the vice-versa

The Governance Advisory Practice's curator insight, October 15, 2014 4:57 AM

You can have the best talent, best ideas, best processes, abundance of cash.  If your culture does not align, being successful with innovating starts looking as if it’s a matter of luck.

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4 Keys To A Corporate Culture That Drives Customer And Organizational Success

4 Keys To A Corporate Culture That Drives Customer And Organizational Success | Collaboration |

An intentionally created corporate culture is the only advantage in business that can't be imitated. Here's why this is true–and how to build a powerful company culture for yourself, in four or so steps.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Why is a strong corporate culture so hard to copy? In some cases, it’s a lack of knowledge. But the knowledge needed is hardly top secret. So what really protects a company culture from knockoff artists? The answer is your competitors’ entirely predictable inability to focus beyond the short term.