Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Using Collaboration As A Management Style

Well managed teams win.   Managers who are collaborators are far more successful than sole contributors.   Creating win-win scenarios is always the best way to impact change and or implement tough management decisions.   This Blogger CEO often sees the inherent conflict that exist within organizations; both at our company and client companies.  Let me illustrate how it works.

There is often conflict between Company Procurement, out to get the lowest price possible and the end user looking for the best possible service, or product.  The rubber usually hits the road when the first transaction takes place, in accordance with the scope of work in the contract, that may not be the service that is really needed.  Sales often over sells to get the business.  Account Managers then have to work with a new client to help them understand what they really bought, even though the contract is usually very clear.   Account Managers are sometimes referred to as the shovel brigade.  And then, Finance and Accounting professionals are in place to protect the company's financial well being, not necessarily to keep the client happy.   This leads to inherent conflict between Sales, Account Management and Accounting that often gets pretty heated. 

The best thing that can happen is for all to realize that they are on the same team, presumably working in the best interest of the company.   Sometimes, it takes Senior Management, with the big picture in mind, to drive home the point by stressing the need for collaboration, not confrontation.   Successful Managers work together to solve problems, not create even more.   In many ways, this is all about style.  Having worked in Consulting for years, this Blogger often had to work with Managers to implement various projects, that were not collaborative and even disliked each other.  

My job as a Managing Consultant was to drive consensus and make everyone happy, while achieving a positive end result for all concerned.  This was possible by implementing a process, or methodology designed to forge consensus.   I knew where we would end up before we started, but it was the process that always got us there. 

Managers that practice Collaboration are great communicators.   They use words, often understated and humor to build relationships.  Finally, great managers use process to get the job done.   Story telling is also a great management art.   It is always best never to use the word NO, when interacting with other employees, which immediately puts up a wall blocking communications.  It was always good to say there are no right or wrong answers; though there are sometimes better approaches than others.  The key is open dialogue centered on a positive end result.   Using Collaboration As A Management Style will achieve superior results every time.  

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