Article Authored by Shubika Bilkha, Partner, EdpowerU
Disruptive technologies, evolving business models, the advent of the gig culture, flexible working hours, horizontal teams, and a co-working mindset, has further emphasized the important of a strong collaborative culture. In the new world order, in fact, collaboration, communication and connectivity are seen as the three main pillars.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) in their skills for the 2020 workplace, identifies coordinating with others, people management, emotional intelligence and service orientation as some of the key skills to thrive in the fourth revolution.
While the adoption of collaborative technologies and frameworks has been quite extensive, and professionals across the board see the relevance of being a part of a collaborative ecosystem, building an organizational culture that truly embodies the spirit of teamwork and collaboration has its own challenges.
In India in particular there is a more complex challenge when it comes to working effectively in teams that traces back to our educational framework that promotes the achievement of grades and marks over learning. Furthermore, our family ecosystem also encourages the achievement of an individual over the collective.
Surveys conducted on Indian executives in 2015 have found that they feature lower on teamwork at 17% as compared to their American counterparts at 28%, and Chinese counterparts at 30%. Indian leaders have performed even poorer in teamwork and collaboration than executives, demonstrating a weakness in collaborative abilities to the tune of 24% versus 6% for their American and 5% for their Chinese counterparts.
As teams get more and more horizontal, and building ecosystems and inclusive workplaces becomes critical to scale, here are some benefits to inculcating a strong collaborative culture:
Greater Synergy: Enhanced cooperation provides the foundation for improved coordination, building a support infrastructure and giving people a sense of belonging. This serves to encourage the development of a whole ecosystem rather than just an individual enabling you to be stronger in the time of disruption.
Motivating and Retaining: A culture that drives collaboration, fosters mutual respect and focuses on empathy, serves to create a motivating environment for its team members. While studies indicate that most people leave on account of people, a collaborative culture helps in retention.
Shared Ownership: A common vision increases a sense of responsibility towards a larger goal and encourages people to work cohesively. This helps in developing a heightened sense of achievement on the accomplishment of milestones as a team.
Builds Trust: A culture that is inclusive, values authenticity, has open and honest communication, creates an environment of trust among team members.
Alternative Perspectives: A diverse and horizontal team combined with a culture that promotes the acceptance of a variety of viewpoints, can stimulate innovation and enhance creativity.
Clarity of Responsibilities: A cohesive team with effective collaboration successfully leverages the skillsets of all team members, which could promote greater efficiency. This further increases accountability and creates a platform for shared responsibility
Mentorship and Individual Development: A team that works closely together develops an environment that promotes mentorship, shared learning and guidance. Encourages team members to learn from each other’s mistakes, finding solutions through a multitude of perspectives and encouraging a conversation around failure, will only deepen the personal development of each team member.
About Author: Shubika Bilkha
Entrepreneur. Advisor. Author. Leadership Coach.
Shubika is a dynamic entrepreneur, media spokesperson, author, leadership and performance coach, with experience that spans the financial, technology, ecommerce, education and real estate sectors in India and Internationally. She is the Founding Partner of EdpowerU that focuses on workplace behavior, personal and leadership development of millennials and the GenZ in India.
Shubika has an ideal combination of corporate experience, having worked with large companies such as Deloitte, provided advisory services to a number of small and medium sized businesses, as well as been the Managing Director of two early-stage start-ups in technology and education. Shubika was most recently the Managing Director of a leading vocational training institute and has worked with a number of leaders across industry, government and the educational ecosystem in India and the UK.
Shubika is a published author with her first book widely distributed. She has also been a prominent media spokesperson for the real estate and education sectors in India having contributed to publications, portals, panels/events, the radio and television channels in India.
Shubika is an alumna of Mount Holyoke College, USA and Columbia Business School, USA; an Associate Member of the Chartered Securities Institute (CSI) in the UK; and has completed the “Building Excellence in Higher Educational Institutions” at the Indian School of Business (ISB), Hyderabad. Shubika has done her Executive Coaching Certification Training at CTI London, UK in line with the International Coaching Federation (ICF) Accreditation guidelines.