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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Collaboration Vs Competition

Many people whom I speak to wonder how companies can add thousands of ambitious people across the world imbibing various cultures and how they can be brought together to work in a concerted way. Most service firms today are experiencing huge growth every year. Management style is the key solution amongst several other factors. The WSJ has an excellent article on rewarding collaboration Vs Competition within enterprises. In today's global, knowledge-based economy, businesses need managers who share information and talent and work across business units and divisions to create and sell a mix of products and services. The challenge for top executives is persuading ambitious managers that their career success depends on collaboration - not competition - with peers. The article notes that managers have been raised on the mantra that to advance they must outperform fellow managers. Those who wrest the most productivity from employees and get the best financial results are generally rewarded with raises and promotions. Generally speaking in the past, most enterprises have encouraged competition within the ranks as an indicator of success and advancement. Managers actually compete with each other for resources and talent. That formula is out of date, points out the article and adhering to it can undermine corporate goals. Cisco Systems, the leading maker of computer-networking equipment, also assesses the ability of employees and prospective hires to collaborate across departments and functions. Cisco, which has been cutting costs partly by streamlining and combining overlapping business groups, has made "teamwork and collaboration" a factor in its formula for computing management bonuses since 2003. Boeing finds the mix of people and knowledge is turning out to be a powerful tool. The trends inside enterprises today are to get more and more flat and matrixed & there is always an acute shortage of resources that can be owned by managers. Several initiatives are planned with resources from multiple teams. By extension, team work and collaboration are what managers are after and someone capable of driving this better will be seen as the successful winner. Envisioning, communication, cultural and appropriate performance measures are the key to make these happen.

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