Why good leaders must move from ME to WE

Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 16:15

Guest post by Janine Garner

 We are currently at a critical juncture in terms of the need for ‘future-proofing’ businesses, both large and small, and the way to do it is through a shift towards a new way of commercial thinking; collaboration, or the ‘We’ space.

 Why the critical nature of making sure that we are on the right track in terms of clarity of vision, positioning in the market place, the ability to step ahead of the pack - and perhaps, most importantly - a willingness to work and engage as leaders with our teams?

 It comes down to this.   The current world climate is one of constant change, innovation and invention. Business globally is a twenty-four/seven brave new digiworld; information flow and the number of products, brands, concepts, apps, and ideas available to the consumer is seemingly inexhaustible and constantly on tap. The phenomenal speed of change that got us to the 21st century’s technological frenzy is not going to slow down any time soon — and it is creating an uncertain future on a global business level that is naturally demanding change. There is an ongoing war between the need for stability and the need for growth. It is up to each of us to actively listen to the demands of this society and evolve how we operate accordingly so that what we do aligns with — and leads — the new paradigm.

How do we as leaders cope with the demand to be the best and at the same time future-proof our businesses? It comes down to a concept that is relevant, adaptable and leads to what can be termed the ‘We’ space of a fully engaged business environment, or commercial collaboration.

Those who have taken an early leap into what is being called the ‘We’ space; in other words, recognised the inherent value in collaborative thinking at a commercial level – and are working together to share ideas, concepts, skills, intellectual property, even collaborating cross-corporations – are already getting the jump on the bottom line.

Staying in the ‘Me’ space – working alone, keeping ideas, thought processes, even fears about the direction of the company to yourself – is fast becoming risky business practice. A leader, manager or business owner who stands alone without the support and skills of a great team is missing out on the knowledge, talent and ideation necessary to stride ahead. Usually, a leader who works in the ‘Me’ space refuses to look outside their own business for collaborative opportunities, for fear that their product or idea might be stolen or corrupted in some way.

This new operating system of ‘We’ is one where;

  • Networks of connected individuals, communities and businesses work together to drive success
  • We can all bring our skills, strengths and talents to the table and together amplify and share expertise to create progressive, results-oriented solutions
  • Collective intelligence means we work smarter and quicker together
  • Diversity and difference of opinion is actually the new competitive advantage.

In turn, commercial collaboration:

  • creates momentum
  • drives new thinking
  • builds the resilience and determination needed to succeed
  • and enables individuals and businesses to explore possibilities and develop strategies to future-proof success.

The We space is not a pipedream. It is a practical framework and there are businesses and leaders who are clearly succeeding by operating within its parameters. Those corporations and entrepreneurs who are using the space well, and understanding the shift in thinking, understood the need to evolve – and to evolve quickly. As a result, they are seeing streamlined procedures, a bottom line that is a healthy black rather than in the red, and employees who are engaged, happier and more productive. Commercially, collaborative thinking is a future necessity.

Janine Garner is the author of From Me To We – Why commercial collaboration will future-proof business, leaders and personal success (Wiley).