By S Zuhair Naqvi/Doha
I recently read one of those ‘change the way you think’ kind of books by Shawn Achor. In this book, he talks about how backwards our initial 25 years are, explaining how we begin our lives in schools, universities and environments being taught a “survival of the fittest” mentality. Being constantly praised for our individual achievements, encouraged to work in silos and scolded for seeking help from our peers. We are repeatedly reminded that, as individuals, we are responsible for our own success and need to find ways to cope, persevere and succeed alone.
Then we are suddenly thrown into the real world and expected to work effectively, collaboratively and resourcefully with others. Pretty much for the rest of our lives, our successes are dependent on the ability to work with others.
This got me thinking about how much we focus on rewarding individual success, so much so we often forget that the real success is in collaboration. The ability to leverage and draw out the best in teams, groups and networks of people achieves far more than any individual accomplishment.
So how do we start working towards a ‘we’ rather than ‘me’ culture? I have identified five tried-and-tested ways to rise by raising others:
1) Embrace mistakes – Turn every mistake in an opportunity to learn, create case studies and weekly meetings to discuss best lessons learned that week
2) Involve teams in setting targets and goals from the outset – Make goal-setting collaborative; if you get commitment in the beginning, teams will view them as attainable and fair
3) Reward team, not just individual, success – Praise and reward how people work together and support colleagues. Make the change from employee of the month to team of the week
4) Get regular feedback – Ask your employees what they need, how they can work better together and what would support them in collaborating effectively
5) Remove the blame culture – Often there is a lack of accountability due to fear of blame; encourage ownership and transparency
Collaboration is the opportunity to work towards maximum efficiency by using every strength and resource available within your business. In the age of technology, automation and process efficiency, we are reaching a time where the difference between companies operating in the same area is marginal. The biggest differentiator is culture and, in order to develop a positive culture where people thrive, you must put collaboration at the centre of your values.
*S Zuhair Naqvi is the Managing Director of DicoTech Qatar WLL and a Partner at The Happiness Hub Qatar
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