Today I’m talking about collaboration. Now you think as a leader, that the fundamental of leadership is you can’t do it by yourself, and it’s very true, yet a lot of leaders really rely on their own volition, their own capability, their own experience to try and activate what it is that they’re trying to lead.

Today with the marketplace moving so quickly - so much disruption, so many things going on, the old commander control methodology of leadership just doesn’t work anymore so we have to wrestle with how do we activate the collective intelligence, the collective experience of those around us.

It’s all about collaboration, creating a culture of collaboration and getting people to collaborate to a consistent, clear outcome.

I ran Gloria Jeans as I may have mentioned before. I was the group managing director there for a couple of years doing the turn around and it was a difficult situation. We had a lot of stakeholders, a lot of issues, sales are going back at 5% and had 40% of the 480 Franchise Partners really struggling. There was a systemic issue around how do we move forward from where we were. And whilst there were some things that I thought were appropriate, I took the time to go and visit each of those Franchise Partners.
I met with them 20 at a time and you know what, it was not an easy conversation. And really, I was there to listen and to take the time to build respect and understand what their issues were, and what it is that they were trying to achieve. If I had not done that, and difficult to do, we would not have got the traction that we had and turn that business around in such a short period of time.
They were such a fundamentally important group of stakeholders that unless they were engaged, unless we built collaboration with them, unless they felt like they were part of the solution, which they were, we took a lot of those ideas, we took a lot of the strategies that they gave us - the things that they were struggling with, boil those down to few simple priorities and made sure that there was a cornerstone of the strategic plan to change that business around.

As leaders sometimes we don’t like to talk about the difficult things that are going on with our teams. We sometimes feel like we have to be bulletproof and have all the answers

Being willing to be vulnerable and particularly being transparent I think is one of the keys to collaboration.

If you create trust through transparency, because it’s transparency that builds trust, no second agendas, no closed doors, really genuinely engaging with the broad range of stakeholders in a collaborative manner, you’ll get a better result.

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