I know how busy you are! And the sad news is that it’s not going to stop or get any easier. Irrespective of your role, the admin just seems to pile up without you having to do a thing. The emails, the phone calls, the texts, the voice mail messages, the drop in “visitors”. The regulatory issues you have to deal with on a daily basis and on and on it goes.
What’s Your Default Position?
I believe all this “stuff” is the new “Corporate Tiger”. It puts you under threat. You worry whether you are ever going to get through it. But you know you must.
What Does All of this Reinforce?
All of these demands reinforce your individuality. Thinking you have to do it on your own and “guard” your own space against even more threats (intrusions on your time, your psyche, your identity), you develop protective, defensive ways of being.
So you become even more cut off from those around you, hoping you will not be disturbed, at least for part of the day.
AND THIS FEAR FURTHER FUELS OUR SILO MENTALITIES
And overnight your culture and your customer satisfaction begin to suffer.
• So you bunker down!
• You come in early!
• You leave late!
• You close your office door!
• Or you don’t come into the office at all!
• Even worse you blame others if something goes wrong!
Irrespective, You Are Under Threat
And your animal brain responds as it did many moons ago, with key reactions:
FIGHT: You fight against it as above or blame others
FLIGHT: You pretend it isn’t there, you socialise, you put it off, you change topics
FREEZE: You beat yourself up for being so behind or disorganised. You refuse to take ownership or look at what you can do
Or a bit of all three.
Is there an alternative? Of course, always. Well, it’s not just an alternative. It’s essential for your own and your organisational survival.
You Must Learn To Collaborate Across Boundaries
Our worlds are so interconnected these days, it’s impossible to grow your business to its full potential without some collaboration. Such as:
• You with your customers
• You with your suppliers
• You across all functions
• You up and down levels
• You with H.O. or Corporate
It’s only then that you’ll truly get the full picture, the total context, which always enhances decision making.
What Can You Do To Foster Such Collaboration?
Everything I’ll list here, you’ll already know. The question is “are you doing it?”. Are you making it part of your organisational DNA and culture in regard to set and agreed protocols and procedures?
1. Break bread together, lunch or dinner. Just talk and connect. Are you in Sales? Then take someone from Commercial out to lunch, and find out WHO they are, not just what they do. It’s easy to let a function down. It’s a whole lot harder to let a person down.
2. Start cross-functional “projects” (yes, I know you have heaps on already) that are directly linked to your Strategic Plan and that have Sponsor Support and authority to implement. Nothing drives trust south like getting all excited about working with others, creating some great ideas, and then being told you can’t implement them.
3. Be an absolute zealot around Customer Service and Customer Centricity. For those of you who have multiple divisions (service, products) being sold to the same customer, make sure you have a great Key Account Management System in place across all divisions.
DON’T JUST MAKE IT EASY FOR THE CUSTOMER TO DO BUSINESS WITH YOU, HAVE THEM REALLY WANT TO.
4. Get your Executive Leadership Group and the next level down coming together, at least quarterly.
5. A great 2 day agenda is:
AM – Quarterly Business review against the annual plan.
PM – Quarterly Collaboration Review, re boundaries, cross-functional projects, key account managers and so forth.
Some form of team building, skills building, getting to know one another exercise. (Here’s a hint; make it 2 nights away together. I have done literally thousands of away days and when people ask me what is the secret of having a successful workshop, I always reply like a little kid “Number of sleeps”).
6. Change your mindset; know that when you truly collaborate you can achieve so much more than doing it on your own. Think about what the whole business needs, not just yours or your functions. Change your language and perspective from “I want” to “We need”.
7. Download our brochure on The Organisation Workshop: Creating Partnership Across Boundaries and consider it for your organisation.
8. Work tirelessly to create an environment of psychological safety, developing the essentials of any great relationship; mutual trust and respect. Without this, you will never achieve the innovations and breakthroughs you are after. This is often first best done by implementing processes and systems that develop such trust and mutual respect.
“If you want to create a culture of innovation, your first job as a leader is to create an environment of psychological safety built on mutual trust and respect. Seeds of greatness will never germinate in a toxic swamp.”
Some of these ideas do require a more organisational approach. So, want to take the first step? Stop the email you were about to send, pick up the phone and talk, just talk and connect.
Until next time…
Find the passion.
Develop the skills.
Make the numbers.
Make a difference.
“APAC’s most respected transformational leadership performance coach”
Paul Mitchell (@Paul_S_Mitchell) is a speaker, author, transformational leadership coach and founder of the human enterprise. Through leadership coaching, leadership development programmes, keynotes and facilitation, Paul works with organisations to build cultures where everybody leads.
A great start could be getting your team together and doing OUR BEST: Transforming High Performing Individuals into a High Performance Team. Every workshop is tailored to your specific and unique needs. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME