A key competency in today’s workplace is the ability to break down “barriers” (silos) and operate in a collaborative manner.
Collaboration typically leads to greater synergy, creativity, professional satisfaction, and provides solutions that gain the commitment of others. In addition, teams function better and employees become more engaged. Organizationally, fostering a collaborative culture can also be a source of distinct competitive advantage.
This course focuses on how to initiate and foster a collaborative approach in your interactions internally and externally. The course is experiential and tailored to the client’s current business environment and needs.
By the end of this program, participants will:
- Understand how a climate of collaboration differs from a more “silo’d” workplace and how to influence others towards a collaborative mindset
- Learn a four (4) stage process for initiating and building collaboration with others
- Learn and apply an “Influencing Toolkit” to help others, who are resistant to collaboration, in functioning more collaboratively
- Learn a “Strategic Communications” model for reconciling differences, finding common ground and engaging others in collaborative problem solving.
- Learn creative techniques to generate new ideas and actions for getting agreement and the commitment of others
- Apply collaboration principles and tools to actual workplace (Sobeys) issues that require collaboration for goals and success to be achieved
Method of Instruction: The workshop in highly interactive and engaging, based on adult learning principles, and uses a variety of exercises and actual workplace scenarios to ensure job relevance.
Course Introduction – Learning Goals and Overview
“Moving from Competition to Collaboration” – in this exercise, participants are divided into groups and given opportunities to collaborate, or not collaborate, with other teams to achieve goals. The exercise illustrates that competitiveness is often instinctive but not always wise – that is, the optimum outcomes invariably are achieved through collaboration
Debrief of exercise
a Collaborative Approach – P.O.D.S. The facilitator introduces a 4 step collaborative model which helps build commitment to being collaborative (versus competitive). Skills are learned and practiced at each stage of the model to help the process.
10:15 a.m. Break
Exercise: Fostering Collaboration at the Penguin and Lynx (P&L) Company. P&L recently invested in new equipment but is having trouble getting the equipment up and running. The company has a very good relationship with the union but needs cooperation on this important project. Participants play the role of union or management and must find ways to collaborate to solve the problem in a satisfactory way. This exercise teaches participants how to avoid “positional” behaviours, find common ground, and use “outside the box” thinking to achieve “win-win” outcomes.
Following the role play, we debrief the exercise.
Introduction of “Influencing Toolkit”. Throughout the day, we learn and incorporate communication tools that facilitate collaboration. These tools provide flexibility in dealing with different types of “resistance” to collaboration. The tools can be used situationally and are intended to keep both parties functioning collaboratively. Tools include: “Linking”, I-Language, Level III Listening, Accountability Statements, and Repetition Statements. We also explore the importance of effective questions.
12:00 p.m. LUNCH
Reconciling Differences and Communicating Persuasively / 4 Box Strategic Communications Model. Invariably, employees in other departments and regions will find reasons to not collaborate. This is particularly true when introducing new initiatives that involve work and time from others. Participants learn a Strategic Communication (Influencing) model for engaging and getting the commitment of others.
A 4-Box model is taught and then applied to actual Sobeys initiatives that would require the collaboration of other departments and regions. The facilitator allows table groups to develop them communication/plan and then present back to the class.
2:15 p.m. BREAK
Generating Ideas / Creative Thinking. We discuss the importance of seeking innovative solutions that allow people to stay in collaborative mode. We do an exercise – “Breaking the Impasse at the School Board” – which allows participants to generate ideas collaboratively.
Case: Trouble in Tools and Equipment Rentals. This exercise brings together the learning from throughout the day. A corporate sales manager would like one of the store managers in the district to collaborate on new strategies to increase business in the tools and equipment rentals department. The store manager believes that there are other store initiatives that offer greater value to the bottom line and is reluctant to cooperate. The corporate sales manager, using the PODS process, needs to move the approach from being adversarial to collaborative. Participants engage in a role play followed by feedback from a “coach”.
Following this exercise we engage in a full class debrief.
Key learning / Applications and “Takeaways” / Course ends