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A Collaborative Industry… Are we there yet?

“When it comes to good old collaboration- I wonder if we are doing it so well that we think of it as second nature- or if indeed we are still, as an industry paying lip service to the concept of collaboration?

If projects are delivered late and over budget consistently- isn’t this an expense that collaboration could have helped decrease? I think so. Our industry has spent a lot of time talking about working more collaboratively- but are we actually doing it? Is it ingrained in our way of working? Are we there yet?

We all agree that if we are to work more effectively- we must work better together but when push comes to shove and money is involved- do we revert to type and end up not collaborating and working in silos?

Effective collaboration is a way of working. Regular reviews and meetings enable us to evaluate and measure success throughout the planning and delivery stages.  Once the dust has settled, more often than not we see a successful outcome.  Much of the time this happens without drawing attention to the collaborative nature of these relationships.

That’s a very simplistic view of a process which involves the customer, Osborne and our supply chain partners, and may well take into account others, such as local businesses or residents.
There are countless articles online about effective collaboration. The success factors most of these highlight are clarity, openness and consensus. The other dimension that could probably be added is thoughtfulness. In other words, have we thought through exactly why we are collaborating, what we want to achieve and whether we are getting the most out of collaboration?

In a culture of continuous improvement, are we looking closely enough and asking whether collaboration is delivering all it can to our business and to our customers and stakeholders?  Capturing and implementing lessons learned is one way of improving our performance, but what other ways are there of measuring and improving our delivery?

We can always improve how we work together, both within our own teams and in working with customers and partners.  Maybe we do need to stop and think about whether we are actually truly collaborating and whether we are actually there yet.”

Mike Todd, Lead Business Development Manager for Infrastructure at Osborne.

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