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October 2015

Collaboration Begins with You

Author and consultant Jane Ripley has vivid memories of her father's involvement in numerous strikes as a union worker during her childhood in England.

"We would go through months of struggling for money," Ripley shares. "My father would say, 'I just don't understand why they [union and management] won't get around the table and talk. Management needs us and we need management. That's how we all have a job. All I want to do is go to work and do my job so I can provide for my family.'

"My father's words stuck with me," explains Ripley. "And I believe his experience contributed to my interest in collaboration—specifically, what keeps it from succeeding.

"I experienced a high level of collaboration in the British Army, but little did I know that once I joined the private workforce I wouldn't see the same level again until I started working with The Ken Blanchard Companies in a sales and consulting role. Instead, I found people in other companies operating in silos with little cooperation beyond the team or department level."

In their new book, Collaboration Begins with You, Ripley, Ken Blanchard, and Eunice Parisi-Carew encourage leaders at all organizational levels to promote collaboration as a mindset to encourage knowledge sharing, innovation, and joint responsibility for accomplishing goals.

"Organizations that don't take action on collaboration now are going to find themselves in the slow lane," explains Ripley. "In today's workplace, decision making and problem solving require a cross functional, collaborative approach. You can't have a hammer that just hits one section. You need to have a range of different size hammers to be able to hit different size nails. And that will work only when you engage everyone in the organization."

According to Ripley, any time an organization needs to respond quickly in the marketplace, collaboration needs to be an integral part of the strategy. If it isn't, your company is likely to suffer when compared with the competition. The authors believe an organization without a collaborative culture will have a difficult time achieving results they strive for.

Explore the October 2015 Issue of Ignite!

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