This is the second article in a series, inspired by the World Economic Forum in Davos. The first theme which has emerged for me from @WEF19 is that of collaboration.

One of the key struggles for leaders reported, was that organisational silos limit their abilities to develop and share knowledge, to implement effective strategies. Collaboration is no longer ‘nice to have’ but an imperative.

Collaboration is defined as

“the process of two or more people or organizations working together to complete a task or achieve a goal. Teams that work collaboratively often access greater resources, recognition and rewards when facing competition for finite resources.”

So how well do you and your team members collaborate? The power of people working together has been known since the beginning of humanity so why is it that in organisations and society we still find it hard to harness that power consistently for the greater good?

If you have been part of a high-performing team you will know how powerful collaboration is. When you have leaders, who understand the power of letting people use their talents and not get in the way. I was fortunate to be part of such a team whilst working at Hewlett Packard in the UK.

I was a member of an IT team supporting the EMEA region on a business software platform. We had very different backgrounds and each of us had an area of specialism. Working shifts throughout the year we had to work as a cohesive unit to deliver service and support to our internal customers.

Our ability to work as a team was clearly demonstrated when a ‘crisis’ happened. Rather than looking for someone to blame we quickly assessed who was the best person to be the lead on resolving the issue and the rest of the team focused on supporting this person, giving them whatever way they needed. We also had lots of fun.

The leadership we had was also critical to our success. Instead of one manager we were led by two, one male and one female. They had very different styles but the combination worked well and at the time was quite unusual. They had trust in us and empowered us to make decisions. They provided us with opportunities for personal development and it really did feel like we were valued and respected for our individual contribution to the team.

Maybe there is an element of looking back with ‘rose-tinted’ specs but for me this time in my career cemented my belief that you if you have a clear purpose, trust and empowerment you can achieve amazing results.

This experience was nearly 20 years ago. Based on the reports we see every day in the media and my own observations there are few examples of high-performing teams in the public sector or corporate world. Engagement is at a record low; mental health issues appear more prevalent and productivity is also going backwards.

We have decades of research and data which tells us what we need to create high-performing teams, healthy individuals and improve productivity yet we are collectively failing to apply the learning.

So, what has all of this to do with Globalisation 4.0 and what digital leaders can do to shape the future of their organisations? More than ever, digital leaders need to develop empathy & trust and empower their employees. They need to embrace diversity and think beyond just their shareholders, by considering all their stakeholders. They need to be brave and challenge the existing business paradigms. They need to grow high-performing teams which are collaborative and purpose driven.

We believe organisations create value through human connections. It is our human traits which will make the difference in a highly-automated world. At Change Optimised we train, coach and mentor digital leaders for the workplace of the future.

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