The ONE Reason Why Trust and Collaboration Is Not Enough To Move Things Forward
Companies have been preaching about trust and collaboration way more than before because leaders realize that they have become the critical make-or-break factors in a company's success at achieving essential business goals in today's hyper-competitive business environment.
One big part of trust is the feeling based on confidence that others will work diligently to accomplish shared goals and also their own contribution to a shared commitment and responsibility. Collaboration on the other hand is the ability to build positive working relationships that enable people to work together to accomplish their goals. The most important aspect of successful collaboration is people or interpersonal skills; people having the skills to work together effectively.
While most people in organizations might be doing that already especially on the operational level to win a project or to meet deliverables of a project, however these behaviors and practices happen until a certain level in the organization and it stops due to ONE reason.
Power Struggles at the Top
There are power struggles at all levels in an organization. But power struggles at the top of the hierarchy is the ultimate factor in jeopardizing companies' progress towards a better, leaner and a more effective organization. Besides, power struggles at the top can be easily observed by people or employees at the bottom of the hierarchy and usually they are laughable or demotivating to the employees.
Power is so valued that high-powered people will fight to maintain or achieve a higher position within the organization. This behavior usually comes with a set of agenda or priorities that are self-serving and they fail to take other people's perspective into account. What most companies haven't recognized fully is the amount of damage these high-powered people can do, especially when they must work together to achieve the goals of the company.
Bottom-up ideas and inputs are most valuable because these are first hand ideas for improvement in the daily work to increase efficiency and productivity, for example. Often enough, these ideas would be first discussed unofficially at the working level where trust and collaboration exist among the people, hence the idea in the first place. Next would be to engage the necessary people from different levels to approve and eventually get the idea implemented. The usual roadblock in such scenarios, especially in large organization, is when a higher level approval from a different department is necessary possibly due to needed resources from the department. Instead of mapping out a road map together on how and when to get the idea implemented, power struggle at the higher level will eventually kill the idea.
When this happens, companies suffer from power struggles that lead employees to disengage and become dissatisfied with their jobs. At best, this is an enormous loss of potential for an organization relying on its most skilled and experienced employees. At worst, conflicts result in firings and outright failures.
Power struggles hinders innovation, forward thinking, creativity and problem solving because people act on the basis of fearing for their position. The cause could be pinpointed at lack of leadership from the highest levels within the organization. Companies that ignore the power struggles eventually pay the price. Business leaders and board members who ignore power struggles within their management teams do so at the organization's risk.