Ross Dawson – Collaboration must support individual aspirations

I think it depends very much on the context. I don’t think there is any easy, one-size-fits-all plan to improve collaboration. It depends on the industry, on the amount of pressure on the industry and the profitability in terms of the culture of the organization, in terms of the demographic profile. There’s a whole array of different things.

But certainly I suppose, one of the things that would be consistent across that is a compelling vision of what the organization can achieve and the demonstration. There’s many ways to demonstrate that because it’s fairly self evident that that requires the collaboration of effective collaboration within the organization. So there is the vision which is compelling because it is both worth achieving and seems achievable. It flows down into collaboration.

But I think there is another aspect of collaboration which is important to draw out. And that is the fact that the more you are able to collaborate, the more you’re creating the landscape to truly tap the potential of individuals. Because this is very much a process-structured hierarchical system, is one where people fit within their role and fit within their slot. So they may be well suited or less suited but they are basically filling a peg and a slot.

When you’re starting to look at collaboration, then you’re looking at a worthwhile achievable vision and how people can work together to achieve that. That profile is far more scope for ideas, for energy, for talent to be expressed with others to be able to create that value. So the collaboration is not just something which achieves business objectives but also supports the individual aspirations, the individual ability, way to express who they are and their capabilities. And I think that’s an important driver as well.

Interview conducted by Frédéric Gilbert.

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