It has been interesting to read the reports of all the partnerships, joint ventures, and other agreements taking place between companies surrounding the development of both electric trucks and autonomous trucks. Companies are realizing the value of sharing knowledge and expertise to move the development of these new technologies forward more quickly.
Seeing this got me thinking about collaboration. While undoubtedly there are benefits to collaborating with other companies, I thought about how valuable collaboration could be inside a company.
All too often each department works in its own silo, carefully hoarding the information and data it has; guarding it as if it were some precious treasure. This can be costly especially if one department is spending time, energy and resources to access information from an outside source when an internal department already has that same information.
Too many people believe that keeping information to themselves gives them power. But the real power of data comes from sharing it and determining how to leverage its power across the organization.
Often times it helps to have someone outside our own department look at a problem for us. Their unique perspective can help us come up with a better solution or at least provide us with more options on how to best address the problem.
In the New Year, I hope managers will encourage collaboration rather than competition between various departments in their organization. I suggest businesses setting up cross-functional teams to find solutions to problems or to help redefine the strategic direction of the company. I also think that regular all-team meetings in which each department has to share what it is working on is a great idea — and is now very easy thanks to technologies that allow for virtual meetings.
I bet that if we stop treating data, knowledge and information as something we need to guard and start sharing it freely throughout our organizations that we are going to start seeing some very creative and innovative solutions to problems that may have been plaguing us for quite some time.
The New Year is a great time to open up your organization and make collaboration one of your core values. I am betting you will be pleased with the results.