CSI: Australia

We often see strategic plans, change projects and innovation approaches struggle to gain traction in organisations for a range of reasons. The reasons are many and varied depending upon context, yet from experience I have found that there is one key area that is often taken for granted or ignored.  Getting the collaborative approaches and attitudes right to start off with.

The premise behind this brief post is that you cannot develop sound strategy and then the new ideas you need to evolve unless you can incorporate multiple and diverse perspectives from the start.

The problem is that that when we elicit perspectives, their diverse nature brings us into disagreement and conflict.

Despite our claims to the contrary, we are not good at collaborating in ways that allow these perspectives to both emerge and be fully considered. This is almost a default position for us given 1000’s of years of relying largely on the winning and losing of debate to determine the best outcome.

We all bring very diverse ranges of experience, education, learning, backgrounds and knowledge to the table. These in themselves are powerful forces for addressing difficult issues.  However, this very diversity can be  an impediment to our success. So, before we start to ask our people to become more innovative and produce new ideas,  we need to assist them with techniques that allow them to collaborate in a manner that allows alternate opinions to prevail and be considered, instead of being rejected out of hand.

This diversity is an essential element of good strategy. A good strategy involves broadly scanning and incorporating multiple perspectives. Once we have a good strategy in place we are then well place to generate new insights, perspective and ideas to achieve that strategy. To get the best possible perspectives and ideas we need to have a broad and inclusive strategic view of the world. To be able to develop up a broad and inclusive view of the world we must learn learn to Collaborate and Interact better. If we ignore this aspect we are building on sand.

Therefore before you attempt to drive innovative approaches and new ideas to generate better business results, get your broad and inclusive strategic scanning done first, but don’t forget, that to do this well you must have you people interacting in a manner that allows the inclusion of diverse and multiple perspectives. This is the hard part and the part we most routinely ignore. As a result our strategies, new approaches and outcomes are often not quite as good as they might be.

First Collaborate, Second Strategise and then the best Ideas will come!

Do it by the numbers and your business results will improve.

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About the Author

Frank Connolly is the Principal of “Think Quick”, a business that adds value through thinking differently. His work history covers all sectors and includes initiatives that have yielded bottom line benefit in the 10’s of millions of dollars.

Current clients range from Exxon-Mobil to Government Depts within Australia to Global NGO’s.

Much of his working life has been split between Australia, the South Pacific and Asia where he has trained and facilitated Lateral Thinking techniques, and been acknowledged by Edward de Bono as one of the foremost practitioners of the de Bono thinking methods worldwide.

Frank believes strongly that if we can improve the way we think, the actions that follow also improve.

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