The need for ‘LASER-like’ connectivity’ in a borderless organisation

| By TMA World


There is a Yiddish proverb which says ‘If God wants people to suffer …He gives them too much understanding’.    Accompanying the freedoms created by a borderless virtual world, come the tyrannies of information overload.

In many organisations the speed of technological progress far outstrips the capacity of management to use its collaborative potential effectively. 

We operate in an age of 24/7 ‘continual partial distraction’, both at home and in the workplace.   As someone rather amusingly put it; ‘these days, we all make love with one eye on the Blackberry’; Wifi invades even our most intimate of moments.

Whilst technology liberates us from working exclusively with those who are geographically nearest; we also need some boundaries to get the best out of the ever expanding possibilities offered by the use of social and collaborative technologies.

Research by McKinsey – ‘Organising for an Emerging World’; confirms that real benefits are to be gained from greater collaborative communication between managers in expert communities.   However, despite the seductive offer of limitless connectivity; unfocussed or untargeted communication also creates inefficiency in knowledge transfer, a loss of perspective around what is genuinely significant, duplication of activity, and a sclerosis when it comes to decision making.

Calibrated connectivity demands an appropriate ‘LASER-like’ precision.   As a connected leader, here is a mental model to help you become more intentional around, why, where, how, and when you connect, with individuals, learning communities, and communities of practice, internally and externally. 

• Look …at your specific needs, objectives and purposes.    What precisely are you seeking to achieve through collaboration?     Do you have a defined ‘end state’ in mind requiring temporary collaboration; or is your purpose to ‘flow’ and accompany others on an evolutionary journey of discovery around shared interests?   

• Assess …internally and externally which professional communities and individual connections are most suited to the type of collaborative relationship you need?    You can’t be involved with everything…or everyone.    Assessing clarifies and focuses how to best present your case to others.    It’s a two way street.    Collaborators need to know what they might gain from collaborating with you.
• Select … and invite with a well worded proposition, only those most likely to yield productive and positive outputs; but be open to, and know how to quickly evaluate unplanned connectivity.   Some of the best discoveries are indeed accidental or spontaneous; but they take time.

• Establish…significance, structure and rootedness in the early exchanges of ideas and information.

• Resonate … collaborative relationships are often discretionary.  Ensure that you resonate rather than repel those you collaborate with.  Collaboration thrives in a culture of openness, so be considerate and ensure you open rather than close down dialogue, with a leadership style of encouragement and curiosity.

A ‘laser’ like focus to collaborative working will free up the time you need to take advantage of the very best ideas, whilst also ensuring you maintain clarity of purpose.

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