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The Best Companies Do This One Thing 7x More Than Everyone Else

With the debut of i4cp’s collaboration research, conducted in coordination with Rob Cross, not far away (scroll to the bottom of this article for the deets), I’ve been tasked with teasing the research in articles such as this. But how do you tease the release of new research without giving away said research or immediately turning you, the reader, off with an insanely boring promotional piece?

The answer is obvious: highlight other research where collaboration is shown to play a crucial role.

In 2016, i4cp and the Association for Talent Development (ATD) produced an extensive research report titled, Building a Culture of Learning: The Foundation of a Successful Organization. Only 31% of organizations have a culture of learning, yet high-performance organizations are 5x more likely to boast a learning culture.

So, what exactly is a culture of learning? We described it in the report as follows:

Characteristics that define learning cultures can vary, but talent development leaders described such essential traits as closely aligned business and learning strategies, organizational values that affirm learning’s importance, and an atmosphere in which learning is so ingrained that it simply becomes “a way of life.” In such organizations, agility is more evident and change is not only embraced but exploited, while employees develop growth mindsets and seek out new opportunities to learn and to share knowledge with their colleagues.

Funny enough, I just wrote last week about how agility, culture, and collaboration are intertwined, that highly agile companies are 45% more likely to value collaboration. I also wrote about bloodthirsty bears, but that’s beside the point.

Sharing knowledge with colleagues—not because it’s necessary to get a job done, but because it’s engrained in the culture—is an attribute of high-performance organizations. In fact, ATD/i4cp research shows that in mid-to-large high-performance organizations, employees share knowledge with their colleagues at a rate of 7x that of workers in lower-performing firms.

While collaboration and sharing knowledge are not the exact same thing, there’s obvious overlap. What our new research (again, conducted in partnership with Rob Cross, professor at Babson College and an industry thought leader), shows that organizations need to be purposeful about collaboration. You can’t just will your employees to share knowledge, just like you can’t tell them to collaborate in meaningful ways and expect it to just happen.

How do you create a culture that embraces and thrives off collaboration?

You could start with any one of three things:

1. Become an enterprise member of i4cp to gain access to five research briefs and a variety of other collaboration resources:

  • 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

2. Register for a complimentary webinar on Thursday, March 16 to get a preview of the key findings.

3. Sign up for the i4cp 2017 Conference: Next Practices Now (March 20 – 23 in Scottsdale, Arizona) to hear more about collaboration from Rob Cross and co-presenter Steven Rice, Chief HR Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Or, you could do all three.

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