CREATING A COLLABORATIVE WORKING ENVIRONMENT WORKSHOP

“THE NO-BRAINER”

Over the last few years there has been a movement to build an organizational culture that is grounded in collaboration. This workshop lets participants discover new ways to manage traditional organizational Human Resource tools, to enable a collaborative work environment.  

First, let’s define some key words and concepts:

Collaboration -Working together to do a task and to achieve shared goals, by sharing knowledge, learning, and building consensus.

Consensus Decision Making – A group decision process that seeks the consent of all participants. 1st, it is agreement – 2nd, it is group solidarity of belief or sentiment, for both the decision and the process.

As you can tell by these definitions, the goal of a collaborative culture is to have people working and acting together with a common belief as opposed to working in a competition for a selfish benefit.

My entire Blog is full of articles that describe behavior/activities that are focused on helping to build collaborative working cultures. Throughout my entire career I have believed that being in an environment that focuses on people working together was far superior to environments that used competition as the driving factor.

When I started my own restaurant/desert business Treats, it was built on the premise of treating all of the employees as part of the Treats Family. Employees would come into the building as a customer and if we got busy they would leave their seats and without asking, do what ever they could to handle the crowds.

When I was hired as the Department Store Director of Training at the Bon Marche, my 1st task was to manage the Quality Circles effort with the Credit Department, helping facilitate the employees in defining the environmental needs that they, the employees believed would improve moral and production.

While I have always believed in the cooperative concept, the world seemed to be obsessed with the concept of driving competition. It was not till about 2 weeks ago that I finally understood why this happened. The Baby Boomers have been in a competitive battle their entire lifetimes – we were this large group of individuals that changed everything before us, and we had to compete against ourselves for everything. The way you could tell if you were winning was by comparing yourself or your organization to the competition. Well, it did drive the way the world grew, but as you look to the Millennium generation and the impact of the new online social systems, everything they do is about sharing. Their lives are not anything like the Boomers. “We Competed, They Share”

The building of a cooperative working culture really involves looking at everything an organization does with the definitions above in mind

       Collaboration-Working together to do a task and to achieve shared goals, by sharing knowledge, learning, and building consensus.

The rest of this post will be an effort to list all of the elements that I have written about, with a few key thoughts that are important with each element. This list will serve as the foundation for you as a team leader to audit your culture and to see where and how you can create and sustain a cooperative working culture.

Workshop Outline

THE NO-BRAINER:

MANAGEMENT BEHAVIORAL SKILLS THAT BUILDS

A COLLABORATIVE WORKING ENVIRONMENT

 

1. IT STARTS WITH CLEAR VISION AND EXPECTATIONS

Vision as: The act or power of imagination; something seen as a dream, trance or ecstasy; Mode of seeing or conceiving.

Expectations: To anticipate or look forward to –the act of expecting an agreed upon behavior.

  • How sure are you that your employees understand what is expected of them in a variety of situations? Do you believe that everyone on your team understands what success looks like? And as a group has solidarity of belief for both the vision as well as the plan on how to get there?

[Score your confidence 1-10 with 10 being high]

Articles for reading:

The Power of Clear Vision—Thoughts about Communication
Job Descriptions – A Forgotten Asset

 

2. THE ART OF MAKING DECISIONS

Decision making can be regarded as the cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action from among several possibilities. Every decision making process produces a final choice. Participation allows individuals and groups to influence the decision in a representative manner.

  • How well do your team members understand how decisions are made under your leadership? How much input does your team members have in the decision process?

[Score your team’s trust in your decision process 1-10 with 10 being high]

Articles for reading:

The Art of making Decisions-Focus and Edit

 

3. JOB DESCRIPTIONS- A FORGOTTEN ASSET

Joe descriptions are written statements that describe; the duties; responsibilities; and most important contributions and outcomes from an employee’s position. The description also states the required qualifications and reporting relationships of this particular job.

  • Do you regularly [at least 1 time per year] discuss you team members Job Descriptions?

[Score your effective use of Job Descriptions in managing you employees- 1-10 with 10 being high]

Articles for reading:

Job Descriptions – A Forgotten Asset

 

4. THE USE OF REVIEWS

Reviews are a basic element of all organizations, and one of the most disliked behaviors from the view of both the employee and the manager.

Reviews normally happen yearly at a specific time of year and serve as an interview between the manager and employee to discuss how the employee has performed during the year. Most organizations have a specific evaluation system that has implications as to the employee’s salary and organizational value.

  • How would you rate your ability to have the review process be viewed as a worth while experience for both you and your employees?

[Score your team’s trust in the annual review process 1-10 with 10 being high]

Articles for reading:

The Use of Reviews

 

5. DESIGNING AN EMPLOYEE REWARD SYSTEM

The primary goal of a reward/recognition system is to increase the frequency of an employee action or behavior. An award system is usually associated with an organization’s strategic initiatives.

Reward and recognition efforts can focus on 2 different concepts – individual competition, or a greater emphasis on group behaviors.

  • How would you rate your employee reward/recognition efforts?

[Score your teams reward/recognition system 1-10 with 1 being very individual competition and 10 being totally group focused]

Articles for reading:

Designing Employee Reward Programs

 

6. DEALING WITH POOR PERFORMANCE EMPLOYEES

In every organization there are people that are viewed as Poor Performers, not meeting the standards of the group. Most of the time these poor performers are also viewed as having Bad Attitudes. As other employees see these behaviors, they become very interested in how the manager handles this situation.

  • How comfortable are you handling the poor performing employee?

[Score your level of confidence in handling poor performance employees 1-10 with 10 being high]

Articles for reading:

Dealing with Poor Performance Employees [not yet written]

 

7. MANAGING ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE

Organizational change is actually a process in which an organization optimizes performance as it works toward its ideal state. Organizational changes occur as a reaction to an ever-changing environment, a response to a current crisis situation, or as triggered by a leader.

  • How comfortable are you with organizational change? Do you have a clear understanding as to what you need to do to manage organizational change?

[Score your level of confidence in handling Organizational Change 1-10 with 10 being high]

Articles for reading:

The Concept of Organizational Change
The 3 types of Management
Know Yourself and Understand Others

 

8. BUILDING A SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT

“There is something deeply important about an experience of being in the presence of someone without being impinged upon by their demands, and without them needing to make a demand on you. And this creates a space where someone can feel sufficiently safe as though there is a shield, or someone guarding you against dangers such that you can forget your self and be open to trust of and connection to others”. – [The Paris Review with Adam Phillip]

Articles for reading:

The Impact of a Social Environment on a Collaborative Working Culture

 

9. HOW TO USE FEEDBACK [INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL]

Feedback is information about how we are doing in trying to reach a goal. Feedback can be unstructured and random or it can be an effective system to measure the speed and impact on achieving well defined initiatives. Given a manager’s ability to establish clear vision and expectations, feedback is the most powerful tool to judge any and all progress at accomplishing and meeting the vision and expectations.

  • Does your management style have a feedback component? Is this feedback component a regular part of your behaviors?

[[Score your level of comfort with having a feedback system and you comfort in receiving the feedback 1-10, with 10 being very comfortable]

Articles for reading:

How to Use Feedback [Internal and External]

 

10. HOW TO MEASURE PERFORMANCE IN A COLLABORATIVE CULTURE

What you measure is what you get. The importance of having a well known and understood matrix of timely and frequent reports that all team members take ownership of, is critical to the success of any organization and team. In a perfect world, these elements would be a combination of business indicators [sales growth-expense margins –etc] as well as scores that define the important human engagement levels. [Do employees have passion and accountability to the culture and the business?]

  • Do you have a consistent “Dash Board Report” that gives a tangible score to measure you team’s progress?
  • Does this “Dash Board Report” have a high level of transparency and trust that the employees can have an impact on its results?

[Score your level of consistency at positively using this Dash Board report to manage your team 1-10 with 10 being very high]

Articles for reading:

How Do You Measure the Impact of a Collaborative Work Environment

 

11. OTHER TOPICS TO EXPLORE

These are other articles that could be part of the “No-Brainer” Workshop

The Power of Well Run Meetings

What Makes a Great Place to Work?

Cross Training- A way to Transfer Common Values

The Three Types of Functional Management

The Architecture of Managing People

The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive [by Patrick Lencioni]

The Employee Cultural Survey [Gallup “First Break all The Rules”]

 

What Success Looks Like

When you have completed this workshop, you will walk away with 3-5 activities that will build your team’s collaboration capacity.

 

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