3 ways lack of collaboration is pi**ing off your customers. 

Collaboration is the act of working together to produce something or achieve a common goal. It seems like a simple enough concept to understand and execute. A leader must communicate a common goal, get everyone to buy into it, and instruct them to work together and collaborate. Yet, all too often, even when the goal is clear, and the team all fired-up and onboard - collaboration is not present.

The problem is you cannot instruct people to collaborate. Collaboration exists when three things are in place. Yes, for collaboration to work, a clear and common goal is required. So is a team committed to that goal. However, the third and often missed element is aligned thinking.

If everyone is using a different approach, a different framework of thinking, to get to the same outcome - how can they collaborate? The destination may be clear; their passion to reach it is clear; but if one person is using a compass, another a GPS, and another an altimeter - how can they collaborate if their frame of reference is different?

Collaboration requires leaders to 'sync the thinking' - to ensure everyone is operating from the same frame of reference. A common metaphor is: 'We are all on the same page'. Yet, with misaligned thinking, comes misaligned actions, which results in misaligned outcomes. And that cost is friction in your customers' world. And it is likely you are unintentionally pi**ing them off. 

Here are 3 common misalignments that cause friction for you and your customers:

1. Value versus valued

So many businesses speak about being customer centric. About adding value. About becoming trusted partners. This is a common goal that most people are committed to. Yet, do their actions reflect it? If sales leadership conversations are mostly about the forecast, the number, and the quarter - and not balanced with the value, the outcome, and the customer... how can you expect sales professionals to be focused on collaborating with the customer to drive business outcomes? If you are focused on the value (money) you get from them, how do you expect to be valued by them? It is likely you are unintentionally pi**ing them off. 

2. Not my monkey, not my circus. 

"The customer is king. Around here we are all responsible to close the gap between what customers expect and what they experience". Sound familiar? But is this what the actions demonstrate? Interdepartmental conflict, blaming, lack of accountability, and a general 'not my monkey, not my circus' attitude is what gets demonstrated. Without an aligned framework for how to close the value gap, and what everyone's role is - vision and commitment to the customer experience is crippled by a lack of aligned thinking. Your customer experience is dramatically affected. It is likely you are unintentionally pi**ing them off.

3. That is not how it works around here.

Culture can be best described as the operating norm of how things work 'around here'. 

Around your email is...  

Around here meetings are... 

Around here showing initiative gets you...

Finish any sentence like this, and you will know your culture - the operating norm of your business.


There is a yin and a yang to this that can either improve or collapse collaboration. Why? Well, because the culture is so entrenched, it becomes the frame of reference. By default, our thinking is informed by the culture. If the culture aligns our thinking to the goal and commitment - excellent. Yet, it is so often contradictory. So, even if we have a compelling common goal, and commitment to achieve it, the frame of reference we inherit from the culture, could undermine collaboration. Customers pick up on this culture rapidly. You may be unintentionally pi**ing them off.

So how do you fix this?

In a phrase: "Sync the Thinking." Make sure that you address all three pillars required for effective collaboration:
  • A compelling common goal.
  • A passionate commitment to achieving it.
  • Aligned thinking on the organising framework. 

For more detail and insights, visit our next Global Connect on: Why you are pi**ing your customers off. Register here for Global Connect #14