Speed with Collaboration and Standards
Messy collaboration can create speed. Mike Leavitt learned collaboration is often the best way to solve messy problems that involve large groups of people.
Mike is the three time Governor of Utah and served on the Cabinet of President George W. Bush as Secretary of Health and Human Services and administrator of the Environmental Protection agency.
8 elements for successful collaboration:
Mike’s political career taught him that bringing people together – collaboration – is the way to solve large complex problems. His book, “Finding Allies, Building Alliances,” describes eight key elements for collaborative networks to succeed.
- A common pain.
- A convener of influence.
- Representatives of substance.
- Committed leaders.
- A clearly defined purpose.
- A formal charter.
- The northbound train. An intuitive confidence that an alliance will get to its destination and achieve something of unique value, and that those who aren’t on board will be disadvantaged.
- A common information base.
Speed – Trust – Transparency – Standards:
The path to speed begins with trust.
Trust depends on transparency.
Transparency requires standards.
I was intrigued, during our conversation, when Gov. Leavitt described the path to speed. The goal is speed but the path to speed requires standards. How do standards create speed?
In 1862, the US Congressed established the standard gauge of 4 feet 8 ½ inches for railroads. Before the standard there were seven gauges. A national rail system was impossible. Cargo had to be transferred from train to train. A standard created speed. (Adapted from Finding Allies, Building Allies)
Gov. Leavitt explains that even competitors can come together to create standards. Think about banks and ATM’s, cell phones, or sharing information between hospitals.
Collaboration is an effective channel for establishing standards.
Gov. Leavitt in his own words on collaboration and creating speed (4.5 min).
Finding Allies, Building Alliances, is must reading for anyone who wants to build alliances that solve large problems.
How can collaboration create speed?
Good points on collaboration and standardization. Collaboration can bring resources and expertise into groups for better results in a common cause. The principal requirements for success are:
1) A common purpose
2) The collaboration must be significantly more useful to each organization than would be working alone, or frustration and cheating behaviors will arise.
3) Defined roles. This, like standardization, is vital to success. Think of “Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Disbanding” as steps of coming together for a temporary project of value. Many are willing to form, but uncomfortable with the storming, and don’t get to the norming that leads to performing. Lawsuits and/or bad feelings can come from not doing the disbanding in an orderly fashion.
4) Allowance for on-boarding time for participants to get up to speed.
5) No cheating behaviors, or hogging of resources and rewards.
6) Being very careful to limit the number of parties in the alliance to as many as required, and no more, in order to stay nimble.
7) Willingness to disband in an orderly fashion when the work is done, after a celebration.
I’m calling you the next time I think about collaborative efforts.
Open source software standards are a perfect example of collaboration bringing speed to business
Good one Josh… I suppose that Linux must be a poster child for collaboration.
Exactly what I been talking about for months………….
Connect Why’s! When accomplishing the goals gets everyone to feel they are getting their’s, or closer to getting “theirs”, they will all find the way.
It is not theoretical, ideological………biological.
Once the contempt prior to investigation thingy is overcome it is as plain as day. Scientific fact, check out what the behaviorial scientists say about the function of the limbic portion of our grey matter.
We start processing info with why!
One thing I got to say Dan if you take a look at our government it is kinda hard to take anything from a politician about working together.
Really, really, really?
The only thing those folks have done is great a colossal , humongous mess.
You think we got a Leadership crisis, we do, no matter if anyone gets it. 70% of employees leaving work feeling no one cares about them and they them stealing 998 billion a year is a CRISIS. Only the blind and delusional won’t see and admit that.
I for one GET IT and am doing something about it. Stay tuned!
Compared to our Politicians our Leaders are knocking it outta the park!
You ever check out how those folks answer a direct question? Sideways, every cotton picking time.
My Grandfather and my great uncle were both US Senators and when they were doing their thing, man it seemed different! Then again maybe the eyes of a related teenager made it appear different!
Who knows! hehe
Just how I sees it! If one never admits the problems, they see no need and no way to help make things better!
I Concur we got issues!
SP back to the pleasant, present!
The challenge of politics in the US is the system is designed to create tension. That’s what makes it work. But, if the participants can’t deal with a system of checks and balances everything grinds to a halt.
I’m very impressed with Gov. Leavitt’s book and skill in this area. He created some amazing alliances in some potentially adversarial contexts.
Well 7000 employees, 72% employee satisfaction rate, 15% annual dividend to shareholders.
Those are stats baby.
When Leavitt gets these results then he is worthy of being listened to.
I mean if I was a pro basketball player who do I want coaching me? The dude who gets the best results, period.
Bob Chapman is the Dude in my world. Barry Wehmiller University and their communications class is at the top of my to do list.
Our government is a disaster. 17 Trillion in debt. Spending more.
Till we say enough is enough and demand term limits we are gonna keep trundling down the rabbit hole.
Just for me the worst thing I can do us listen to any of these bozoes who are a part of the problem and pat them on the back.
Show me one politician willing to say we stink terribly, including me!!! Show me that politicians book and I will buy his book immediately.
Anyone tooting their own horn in reality….it was bad when i got there, worse now…..what do they really have to say worth reading?
Know that might not win friends but is it true or not?
If Leavitt is truly a solid dude if he read that he would say I do not particularly care for this guy but he is stating the truth.
Till we admit the problem as ugly and uncomfortable as it is no solution is possible, just band aids.
SP back to now
Collaboration creates speed in that everyone is hearing the same information at the same time. Many times as information is passed along, it changes along the way and the final information is miles apart from the original. Collaboration stops this from happening or slows it down considerably so that decisions can be made from an aligned information source.
Another great post, Dan, and a timely one for me as I put together a group visioning process for an organization. Interestingly enough, many folks want to jump to standards without the transparency. Gov. Leavitt’s thoughts will be very useful. Thanks.
A convincing post to understand the benefits of successful collaboration and the process involved. The success ingredients need to be in the reverse gear sequence i.e. standards- transparency- trust – speed. Standards are very essential covering quality systems, process & procedures which set a company’s overall reputation, image & market standing apart. One needs to also look at standards kept for following the business ethics.
The amalgamation of human resource of collaborative companies is the additional key factor for a combined success.
There’s a great book called the Unfinished Revolution by Michael Dertouzos where he talks about the need for collaboration and standards as part of 5 keys pieces of the puzzle still missing to make computer technology truly revolutionary. Dertouzos actually help created the Internet as we know it today with his work at MIT from 1974 to 2001; so he kinda knows what he’s talking about. Unfortunately he died just as he was planning a tour for this book.
My ‘pat on the back’ trivia of the day: I actually created the original Wikipedia page for this book. Scroll to the bottom of this wikipedia page and you’ll see my username entry for the creation:
Love. So often in my organization, collaboration is an excuse for NOT progressing… because everyone has to be at the table and a good solution is rejected for not having the “perfect” group of contributors. I love the idea of having a charter for a collaboration group (a.k.a. a Professional Learning Community, as we call them in the education world). I will be thinking this weekend about how we might use the principles of good project management to infuse agility and speed into our work in PLCs. Wow.
It is indeed. I think that common goals, trust, transparency and honest communication are vital as well