ike our piggy protagonists in the introduction, the amalgamation of multiple parties, who are traditionally in competition, is no mean feat. Taking them out of their sties

- sorry, silos - to work collaboratively, means upfront planning and coordination, follow up, skills and time. Set this right at the beginning and you have the foundation for a successful project, which will protect the project schedule, save money and increase quality. Trust is at the heart of any relationship, without trust there is no feeling of safety, and at the danger of sounding like Yoda, without safety, there is no confidence. So, building trust is the primary imperative in the process of working collaboratively. In their book The T

rusted Advisor,


The classic fairy tale, The Three Little Pigs, is the story of a difference of opinion. If only the porcine trio had understood the importance of collaboration and pooled their diverse opinions and capabilities? The walls would be built with bricks, the thatched roof would have looked a chocolate-box treat, and the furniture would have been constructed from wood.

David Maister and Charles Green gave us an equation to base an assessment or codification of trust. This model suggests we need to see credibility, reliability, intimacy and a lack of self-interest in those we seek to trust, and they in us. If scored appropriately these variables provide a valuable basis for a conversation between parties and a simple, if not a scientific diagnosis of where development needs to be focused. This leads on to common purpose which is essential in ensuring that all parties are “in it” for the same thing. This means being clear about what each other’s strengths are and what each organisation can bring to the project. If the engineers are focused on one outcome, project managers on another and finance on a third, then there are myriad opportunities for conflict, inefficiency and ultimately losing control of the project. These issues are multiplied if recognition and reward are linked to the delivery of diverse, disparate goals. A clear and agreed statement on where all agents are pointing (towards) supports decision making, resource allocation and effective delivery.



The project work should have personal significance to employees so that their contribution makes an impact. Understanding why someone “turns up” is a principle piece of knowledge, not only for motivating them but helping individuals and teams work together. Some are there for career and CV development, a few are looking to leave a legacy, a number may be filling up the last few years of their pension and others are looking to build their skills and the profession of choice for the future. None of these are right or wrong, but understating each participant’s motivations and reasons for being there will drive opportunities for; sharing, supporting, development and collaboration. Leaders need to lead and role model effective behaviour and this comes from the top and, when I say the top, I mean the top. Lots of organisations will be concerned with “their directs” or “their middle managers”, but the long shadow of leadership must be cast effectively from those closest to the sun. These are the behaviours, collaborative or otherwise, that will be repeated throughout the organisation. Leaders need to listen, have prepared one-to-ones with the team members, walk the hallways and be open to conversations. You might just pick up on something that could avoid a disaster, a key team member might seem bored or frustrated, this might be a warning flag to re-engage your team. Make time, “I’m busy” translates to “That’s not important to me”. If you make time for your team, they feel valued and engaged. In summary, “practice what you preach”, listen, make time and be open, and this results in trust and respect from your team. When it comes to meetings, and many of them are inevitable, it pays to revisit basic meeting training from your formative corporate years, as they do cover the basics, and the usual rules apply. Remember, collaborators today don’t tend to take notes and stick to protocol, and some may increasingly be “present” on Skype or other social platforms, so setting parameters and clear agendas is key, and making sure appropriate attendees come prepared, that there’s

32 | thehrdirector | MAY 2019

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