Leadership Management Organisational Culture

How collaborative is your workplace?

Setting your organisation’s ‘Purpose’ and ‘Strategic Direction’ are tasks that we spend days, months sometimes even years perfecting.  However, some of the biggest challenges in executing your purpose and strategic direction relate to disseminating it clearly down to your teams and turning it in to tangible actions at the grass roots level.

One of the key elements to ensuring you effectively execute your purpose and strategic direction is to foster a collaborative working environment.  Future Institute of Australia recently sat down with Greg Smargiassi from ‘OUR CFO’ to discuss how he is using a collaborative approach when it comes to determining his company’s purpose and strategic direction. You can watch the full video here .

For any organisation to collaborate effectively, it needs to ensure that the business has a culture, processes and systems that encourage collaboration.  Below Future Institute has developed the 5 pillars of collaboration for your consideration.

Future Institute’s 5 Pillars of Collaboration include:

  1. The values and objectives of employees and management are aligned;
  2. A climate of mutual trust and respect exists;
  3. The knowledge of all the staff, customers and suppliers is shared and pooled to optimise the organisations operations and opportunities;
  4. Decision making is more decentralised than top down structured organisations, and more key stakeholders across the business play a role in defining the direction in which the organisation moves; and
  5. Hierarchical structures are kept to a minimum. The company is managed democratically by consensus rather than by command and control.


How well does your organisation rate against these 5 pillars? Are there any areas for improvement?  What more can you be doing as a leader to improve or create a collaborative environment?

Organisations also need to be structured to enable effective collaboration at all levels through both up, down and laterally.

The below diagram illustrates two very different organisational structures.  The one on the left is a typical command and control structure and operates much like a machine.  There is a top down hierarchy and often several specialised departments are delivering their bit to achieve the organisation’s objectives.

The organisation on the right operates very differently.  Leadership is the center of the organisation, these leaders are visionaries and exceptional motivators.  The teams are strategic groups with a variety of business units that enable collaboration at the highest level.  This structure works more like a living organism to achieve the overall strategic direction

The benefits of a collaborative organisation will enable you to involve managers, frontline leaders and staff to understand the purpose and strategic direction of the organisation.  Collaborative organisations are more flexible, they are results driven and communication operates effectively both up, down and laterally.

Ask yourself this question…

When was the last time you (as a senior leader) consulted with your key managers to seek their feedback about the organisation’s purpose and strategic direction?

Are you doing enough to encourage collaboration at all levels (up, down and laterally), and would the evaluation of the 5 pillars assist in your organisation to changing culture, changing or modifying your structure and enable your organisation to be more collaborative?

If this is a challenge that you are facing within your organisation we would love to hear from you, contact us at or call on 1300 329 300