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Collaboration, Culture, Agility, and Bloodthirsty Bears

Agility is a coveted capability, and what’s true in life is true in the business world—if you’re attacked by a family of bloodthirsty bears and you’re more agile than your friend, you’re more likely to survive. In business, companies that can exploit market changes have a higher likelihood of success—especially in industries in which competition is fierce and can emerge out of the shadows like ... well, a family of bloodthirsty bears.

High-performance organizations are 6.5x more likely than lower-performers to respond quickly to changes in the business environment. How do they do this? They have an agile culture and a workforce that embodies that culture, one in which a bloodthirsty bear attack won’t lead to fear and chaos, but rather excitement about meeting a challenge.

Angry bearA couple years ago, i4cp published a research report, The Secret Formula for Organizational Agility, within which we identify five organizational values that drive agility. One of those five values is collaboration.

Collaboration is the type of thing that many leaders espouse as essential, that organizations endorse, and countless employees declare as a good thing. In fact, highly agile organizations are 45% more likely to value collaboration.

But we all know that too much of anything, even collaboration, isn’t always good. It can lead to indecisiveness. It can lead to frustration. It won’t usually lead to bloodthirsty bear attacks, but you never know. And, as highlighted in a popular Harvard Business Review article last year, it can result in Collaboration Overload—a productivity-killing situation that can especially affect your best employees.

Last year, i4cp partnered with the co-author of that article, Babson College professor and thought leader Rob Cross, to study the implications of collaboration at the organizational level. This spring, we will debut the first of five executive briefs that highlight key findings from this groundbreaking research; the other four will debut later in the summer and into fall:

  • The Essential Components of a Collaborative Culture – May 2017
  • Critical traits of collaborative leaders – Summer 2017
  • Keys to managing work collaboratively – Summer 2017
  • Talent practices that drive collaboration – Fall 2017
  • Ways to avoid collaboration overload - Fall 2017

While the briefs will be available exclusively to i4cp members, we will share key findings and more insights in an exclusive webinar on Thursday, March 16, presented by i4cp co-founder Jay Jamrog and Kevin Wilde, former Chief Learning Officer at General Mills.

Rob Cross will also present alongside Steven Rice, Chief HR Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on the collaboration research at the i4cp 2017 Conference: Next Practices Now (March 20 – 23)—where there will be no bloodthirsty bears.

Erik Samdahl
Erik is the head of marketing at i4cp, and has nearly 20 years in the market research and human capital research industry.