So, what is collaboration? What is collaboration in the workplace, and, is collaboration in the workplace something new?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary Collaboration is ‘The action of working with someone to produce something’.                

Personally, I find that a neutral statement and not the best definition; in reality collaboration is a coming together with others to produce something better than could be achieved alone as one.  It is about developing and executing a purposeful relationship in which all parties strategically cooperate, work together, in order to achieve a shared positive objective.

It seems to me that collaboration is quite simply a proactive working practice whereby individuals work together to achieve a common business purpose or benefit, either internally with my Pick Everard colleagues or with my Perfect Circle colleagues in Gleeds and AECOM.

Perfect Circle is a joint venture between Pick Everard, Gleeds and AECOM.  Set up in 2016 to deliver the Scape Built Environment Consultancy Services (BECS) framework .  BECS is the largest UK framework offering a full suite of OJEU procured multi-disciplinary consultancy services.  Before BECS and Perfect Circle we were competitors and outside Perfect Circle any day of the week we still are!

Notwithstanding this; on a daily basis I and my Perfect Circle colleagues collaborate to ensure the best team and solutions are developed for our public sector clients.  

We come together face to face, with each other and our clients, by phone, and many emails to hand pick the best resource and team to deliver the best solution. That sometimes means backing down and allowing others to lead a proposal and delivery, because ultimately its about collaborating to ensure the best result for the client, not winning the highest proportion of work. 

I am relatively new to the Perfect Circle team and working together collaboratively is good for me, I am learning from my peers. I am observing and honing new skills; particularly, listening, retaining information, asserting opinion and negotiating to an agreed status.  

What I have learned in my first few months is that positive collaboration requires the following elements to ensure that positive shared objective an outcome:

  • Awareness –of a shared desired outcome
  • Motivation –in problem solving, development and solution finding
  • Participation – Driving forward to gain consensus, we pull our weight, we play our part
  • Mediation – We negotiate together and find a middle point
  • Reciprocity – We share in the participation and we expect sharing in return and we expect others to participate
  • Reflection – We think and we consider alternatives
  • Engagement – We proactively engage rather than wait and react
  • Synchronization – We discuss and negotiate opinions as individuals, deliver on our strengths but from the outside we are seen as a single entity!

So as I continue to find my feet, learn the ropes and execute my role, when I reflect……………………..isn’t all this collaboration just teamwork done really well??