Co-operation is power!

The significance of co-operation within an organisation has been well acknowledged in several organisations. It’s no wonder that many organisations’ values include “working together” in one way or another. However, the reality in the realisation of this value is not often very complimentary when talking about how the co-operation between different units of an organisation actually takes place in everyday work.

If internal co-operation is optimal, customers, owners and personnel benefit from seamless co-operation between units.

The bad quality, small amount or total lack of internal co-operation within an organisation decrease the organisation’s ability to make the most of its full potential. At worst, the situation might lead to unhealthy competition and sub-optimisation between units. Responding to the customers’ needs and beating the competition requires an extensive approach to solving the customers’ issues. Doing this successfully requires removing silos from co-operation between units. If internal co-operation is optimal, customers, owners and personnel benefit from seamless co-operation between units.

Untapped potential – how to get our hands on that?

The starting point for a successful organisation is seamless co-operation between different units. It’s important to chart the current situation of internal co-operation in order to know how the prerequisites for co-operation can be developed. It’s useful to start the charting from strategically important co-operation points. Weeding out any possible sub-optimisation or identifying untapped potential could bring significant competitive edges to business operations.

The assessment of co-operation between units is a great way of mapping out the current situation of the organisation.

The assessment of co-operation between units is a great way of mapping out the current situation of the organisation in which the chosen units receive and give feedback to one another. Feedback is targeted towards different themes, such as competence, attitude, communications, expectations of co-operation, awareness of the basic tasks of the other unit, what the units want to achieve together and how working together is continuously developed. Targeted feedback provides information on the matters that promote optimal co-operation and those that hinder working together, what kinds of opportunities for co-operation have even not been noticed or not wanted for use.

Common intent sets the goals for doing

After a concrete and targeted analysis of the current situation, there are great preconditions for creating a vision shared by two or more units. This means the units agree upon the objective situation of the joint operations: what do we want to become and what do we want to achieve together in the future?

Often it is quite hard to find a great recipe for building a tempting vision as the vision has to be understood through everyone’s own role. How my input and effort affects the realisation of the vision of two or more units. In addition, it’s important to concretise the customer advantage. This way, it’s possible to construct an inspiring, interesting and achievable vision.

Ways to reach the vision

Now we know where we are at the moment and where we are headed. Next, we have to select ways that support the vision and create a plan to realise them. A clear view of the strengths and challenges of the current co-operation is an excellent basis for the planning. It’s important to invest in and lead development so that the agreed upon matters are promoted and that they take the operations towards the shared vision. With the help of researched data, the ways of reaching the common vision are concretised as a shared development plan.

Will to develop together

A strong, common and influential corporate culture can be identified from values being more than just words. The significance of values must be understood through everyone’s own role, and it’s important to make the values visible in the organisation. The objective should be genuinely “working together” that guides the choices of the management, supervisors and employees in their daily work. We cannot create results alone. The leadership procedures of executive management and supervisors are a great example for the rest of the personnel.

Internally efficient and profitable organisation is created by helping one another

At the end of the development process, it’s good to pay attention to rewarding in the units. Rewarding based on objectives should be changed to correspond to and support a new corporate culture of working together. Now, it’s no longer possible to say that “we cannot affect the joint objective.” A shared measurable target should derive from the vision of one or more units and base the rewarding on the realisation of the shared target. This renewal work can only start from the Management Team.

This is a good time to think how many companies have a leadership system that promotes reaching the objectives of your own area of responsibility by helping the neighbouring unit to reach their own objectives. A target and rewarding system based on this kind of thinking would ensure that the Management Team together with their supervisors are inspired and motivated to promote the realisation of visions shared by strategically important units. This would lower the walls separating the silos day by day, finally removing them completely.