Collaboration During Change

Date Published 26/10/2021
Category Consulting

We have all been in workshops where stakeholders or sponsors say: “We need to collaborate more during this change”, or “We need to collaborate more efficiently”, or “We need to improve how we collaborate”. I must say over all these years working with customers on their change initiatives, one thing is certain, people don’t share the same understanding of what collaboration actually is.

Some people think that collaboration is better sharing of files and information, while others have their own definitions.

So, what is collaboration? Collaboration is a derivative of two Latin words, “com” and “laborare”, which basically means working together. It is a process of at least two people, entities and organisations working together to complete activities, share information or achieve a goal. Now, knowing what collaboration means, we need to ask ourselves: What does it involve in change management terms?

  • Collaboration builds a common understanding of what is required between all parties involved in change. When I say all parties, I am addressing technical teams (delivering technical change), business teams (designing the new ways of working) and ultimately, people (delivering behavioural change). It requires a joint effort to create, deliver, implement, and sustain new ways of working.
  • Collaboration is all about building relationships and teamwork, where all people are responsible for creating a network. They need to support each other, participate in ideas, write proposals, and listen to perspectives from other people. Behaviours like “I don’t have time to explain, please do as I say”, or “I’d rather do it myself”, or “I don’t care what they do, we are not in the same team”, must be vanquished.
  • Collaboration levels during change should not be forced upon others; it must be their choice to become involved at some level. Different people have different levels of participation but making the change and sustaining it is not just an individual effort; it is a collection of efforts.
  • Collaboration creates an environment where it does not matter who originally agreed to do the change and who actually does it. The change is successfully implemented because people wanted to complete the tasks and all the necessary work.

So, what are the benefits of these collaboration outcomes?

Although there are many benefits of successful collaboration, and sometimes they will be dependent on team maturity, there are four obvious benefits that would make change more successful.

  • “We are in this together!” Collaboration will reduce an “us and them” culture, where one team is architecting and delivering the solution, throwing it above the fence, hoping that it will be implemented, and the benefits realised by others.
  • “Making it useful!” Collaboration will increase the relevance and usefulness of final deliverables, as they have been collected, analysed and shaped from the start by final users.
  • “I know how to help others!” Collaboration creates shared responsibilities for problem solving, but also the sharing of information and continuous learning, by increasing the knowledge and skills of all participants.
  • “We are ready, when you are!” Collaboration will remove the lag time for bringing impacted teams and people up to speed on what has been developed and implemented.

In the end, it is clear to see that collaboration during change is one of the most critical activities to build trust and a desire for change, and this should be extensively encouraged by all stakeholders to ensure success.

Author

Marko Stevanovic
Marko Stevanovic
ACM Practice Lead

Marko brings a wealth of change management, project management, leadership experience and expertise in facilitating culture change programs. He has created, and executed change strategies for multi-million digital transformation programmes and designs change frameworks for technology adoption projects in various industries.

Discover More

Discover Our Latest Blogs
Discover Our Latest Blogs
Read Our Latest News & Articles
Read Our Latest News & Articles
Browse Customer Case Studies
Browse Customer Case Studies

Talk To Us About Your Requirements