I'm thinking about...
Building on my recent posts...Recently I've had a number of conversations that have reminded me there are some elements of Collaboration and Collaborative Leadership that are not 'obvious'- so we need to be more explicit. I get it: I immersed myself in the research and it took me years to begin to put words around the ideas, which are continually evolving - but not everyone is geeky in this field!
So, because I'm on a mission to grow a collaborative movement that delivers shared value - I am going to offer here some of the ideas that we continue to explore and debate in my workshops with regard to Collaboration and Collaborative Leadership.
The first idea was: An edict to collaborate doth not collaboration make.
The second idea was: Our role as leaders and facilitators in the arena of collaboration, partnerships and joint ventures is to convene spaces where all the voices can be heard.
Here's the third idea: We need to be working together with shared measures.
More often than not we measure what we can or just what we have historically.
I've led many a strategy and strategic planning process with associated KPI's and been contracted in more than once to review an organisation's measures. When I've inquired around those measures, most frequently folk don't know why they measure what they do nor the value it adds to the strategic direction. Generally they talk to the process of measuring or the movement in the measure over time (up/down).
I've worked across sectors and departments - the pattern of response is similar.
Whatever the measures, my observation has been that the measures become the incentives and drive behaviours. These measures than act as key 'constraints' or 'levers' in the system. They determine what we invest in, where we put our energies and how we work. Sometimes that's limiting, sometimes that can be enabling. e.g. we've got too much 'x' let's get that number down or we need more 'y' , let's invest in getting us closer to the 'desired' number.
Measures impact decision-making and behaviours.
"Tell me how you measure me, and I'll tell you how I'll behave," said Goldratt
But one thing is for sure if the measure 'we are' chasing is different to the measure 'you are' chasing or 'they are' chasing, then we're likely to be in conflict. We'll be pushing for and driving different agendas. It may be that these measures across our teams/departments/organisations are complementary, but often they're not or we just don't know, because no-one has really considered how the measures interrelate (if at all).
Importantly, in the field of collaboration and partnerships and joint ventures, they are a 'cog in the wheel' 0f successfully working together or not, as the case may be. When we come together in collaborative partnership or joint venture we need to reframe and rest towards shared measures.
What are we journeying towards and how can we measure this together?
Would it surprise you if I said I have yet to work with any partnership group or organisation working towards strategic collaboration that already has shared measures in place? I'm sure there must be some...
When we work together to reset towards a shared agenda, with a shared language and shared measures - the behaviours change - the stories change - the relationships change - the culture changes - and, the outcomes change.
An opportunity: My observation would be that for us here in New Zealand, the Public Service Act 2020 is one platform that could potentially encourage development of shared measures towards supporting public service agencies to work more collaboratively and as a system. Maybe you know of examples where this is already happening? If so I'd love to hear about them.
Nazanin Jenkin is a Persian Kiwi - a Persian by descent and a diaspora by circumstance. She lives in New Zealand; along with her husband of thirty years and two surviving, adult children.