New Ways of Working Together Series

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New Ways of Working Together:  Collaboration Within and Between Companies, and New Ways of Working Together:  Organizational and Employee Change By Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
New Ways of Working Together:  Collaboration Within and Between Companies
Collaboration is necessary for managing the paradox of increasing efficiency while providing additional consumer value.  Good preparation is essential for success.  The purpose of this book is to help you prepare for collaborative discussions. 
To begin you need to know your own company’s mission, vision, and most valuable consumers.  Identifying the mission, vision, and valuable consumers of your potential partner is also important preparation.  Next, you need to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business processes and the processes of your potential partner. 
Armed with this information you are ready to plan for collaboration.  Unlike competitive situations, hoarding information is not the path to power.  Like competitive situations, protecting proprietary information is necessary.  However, in collaborative discussions it is necessary to share appropriate information to create effective joint strategies.
Sharing information about company mission and product or process objectives is a good place to begin.  Both companies know and understand their valuable consumers and have a set of objectives based upon their analysis of strengths and weaknesses.  Who are the consumers of the manufacturer who are frequenting the retailer?  Sharing information to identify these joint consumers is essential for success.  Each company has objectives for the coming year.  Which ones can be addressed together?  Now you are ready to create a joint strategy that benefits suppliers, retailers, consumers, and shareholders. 
As companies begin to share this level of information and successfully complete joint projects, they realize the value of collaboration.  One successful project leads to another and the process of collaborative decision-making evolves.
By working through the exercises in this book, you will be ready to engage in collaborative discussions leading to synergistic solutions that create efficiency and consumer value.
New Ways of Working Together:  Organizational and Employee Change
Change is messy; change is unsettling; change is frustrating; change is unpredictable.
The need for change can come from many directions such as new competitive products, changing consumers, an increase in oil prices, governmental regulations, or a natural disaster disrupting supply chains.  Whatever the impetus, once top management decides to make a change, the anxiety begins.  The purpose of this book is to provide guidelines for managing organizational and employee change. 
A successful leader needs to identify possible change efforts, evaluate them, determine which ones fit the vision, and deploy projects in a sequence that generates success.  Once everyone recognizes the need for change, knows the vision of where the organization is going, and understands that the vision will result in increased efficiency as well as consumer value, the work of implementation begins. The processes, jobs, and people are the "moving parts" that are involved in making the change.  Successful implementation requires flexibility, empowerment, involvement, and focus.  The leader's job is to monitor progress, ensure movement toward the vision, clearly communicate progress or accomplishment to all stakeholders, and motivate everyone involved to keep the process moving forward.  With a strong vision, appropriately skilled employees, adequate resources, relevant rewards, and specific plans, the organization will change in the desired direction.
To be ready to respond to change, you need to know when it is coming.  Gathering information, synthesizing it, determining its value, and ensuring that the right people have access to the information when they need it for making decisions is critical for assessing the environment and anticipating change.  A plan for keeping the organization focused on the future vision while still engaged in current business activities is essential for success. Organizational change becomes part of the everyday life of the organization.

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