The new mantra in any corporate house is Collaboration. But a question- when was the last time you got a collaborative incentive?
From the time we are born to the time we die, the only sentiment that echoes is the instinct of survival – and yes Competition being the key word… a word that is used in almost every aspect of your life. No wonder, however collaborative you are at work, your remuneration or appraisal is always competitive.
In a world where mobile phones killed the camera business anything is possible. Ask any CEO, on their biggest challenge- you will get only one answer, “maintaining or increasing market share against our competition.” Today’s environment is highly dynamic and unpredictable. And what gets defined in the marketplace, translates to the environment internally too, for the regular employee who joined the organisation to earn a decent salary and do the job they set out to do?
An employee needs to grow and that generally means better position, which in turn, translates to a better pay and which means a better life (subjective to one’s perception). Now with hundreds of employees in the same position at the same level, inching for the same space at the next level – the environment is set out to be quite competitive as against being collaborative.
A competitive environment keeps you on your toes, agile and quick – like a 10mts sprint. Whereas a collaborative environment enables you to go further, longer- just like a marathon. So which race do you want to run?
If you go to the jungle alone to hunt, whatever you kill will be yours, however to hunt effectively you will need to be fast and agile with a high level of survival skill to get the big kill. But chances of getting a big kill every time will be difficult and rare and you may go hungry for most days. However if you team up a group of people who are as skilled as or better skilled than you, you can hunt bigger, with a higher success rate, that can suffice for all every day with lesser effort.
As an individual, one can only be good at the task or a job they have been given, however in order to do more; one requires the ability to cut across barriers of competition to work collaboratively.
Building collaborative teams require an environment of Trust, Transparency and Purpose.
Trust: A mutual understanding among the team on doing what’s right
Transparency: Roles that are well defined
Purpose: You need a strong compelling purpose that drives the team.
So now the big question – is collaboration the key… I do not think so… in today’s environment you need to be both…
Two well renowned automotive conglomerates, Nissan & Renault. This is a true example of being both competitive and collaborative at the same time. Renault and Nissan became strategic partners in 1999 and have nearly 450,000 employees and control ten major brands: Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Infiniti, Renault Samsung, Dacia, Alpine, Datsun, Venucia and Lada. The car group sold 10.6 million vehicles worldwide in 2017, making it the leading light vehicle manufacturing group in the world.
I my view, competition and collaboration are two sides of the same coin, and in today’s environment, you need to Collaborate to Compete.