The Five Rules for Better Collaboration

    The Five Rules for Better Collaboration 

    By Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard, CEO at Innovisor 

    A few weeks ago I was having a conversation regarding collaboration, when I was asked "So what are your rules for improving collaboration?" 

    Very relevant question! 

    In many years, the answer has often been "You need to implement an Enterprise Social Network", "You need a new Intranet" and so forth. I disagree with that! 

    In my view, Collaboration is not about technology. It is about people! 

    In my view, Collaboration is not about technology. It is all about people and how they behave! The technology is -at most - an enabler. Instead you - as a leader- must set the example through your behavior. 

    If you set the example, then you can influence your organization to behave like you hope they will. In a more collaborative way. 

    In conclusion, the five rules I recommended following to set the example, so collaboration could be improved were: 

    1. It is not about you! Drop your alpha male / know-it-all attitude, and start listening to what your colleagues are really saying. You will probably learn from it... and a humble attitude is always good. 

    1. Help your colleagues connect! If you think two of your colleagues could benefit from connecting, then connect them. 

    1. Be transparent! Share what you know, so everybody has access to your knowledge and information. Transparency drives agility, and improves decision-making, so why not? 

    1. Always ask for help! Only 1/3 of your employees will ask for help, if they face an issue, whereas 2/3 are always willing to help. Your organization can become so much smarter, and avoid “reinventing the wheel”, if people just ask for help. It is a weakness NOT to ask for help! 

    1. Build focus! Collaboration cannot by left to coincidence. You need to define who should connect, about what, when, and why - and then communicate it, so the organization understands 

    I am aware it is not the complete list of rules, but it is a good starting point. 


    About the Author 

    Jeppe Vilstrup Hansgaard is the CEO of Innovisor, a global frontrunner in the practical application of organizational network diagnostics, people analytics, and algorithmic thinking to the change and transformation management discipline.  He has gained his +20 years of practical experience from change and transformation programs in Asia, Europe, and the US. 

    Jeppe – a citizen of Denmark - has earned his Executive MBA from Henley Business School in UK, and has supplemented with courses in Decision Making and Risk Management from Stanford School of Professional Development in USA. 

    Lithespeed Co-Founder Presents Manifesto for Organizational Agility

    Lithespeed Co-Founder Presents Manifesto for Organizational Agility 

    As Agile progresses from teams to departments to the enterprise, organizations are taking on a holistic approach to the continuous improvement of process, people and product. 2016 is the year of total business agility, expanding agility beyond IT departments. Executives, managers and team members in all units (Marketing, Finance, HR, Sales…) are now benefitting from the adoption of Agile methods. 

    Check out LitheSpeed CoFounder Arlen Bankston’s Manifesto for Organizational Agility. 


    Agile methods have been around since approximately the early 80’s; from RAD and JAD, to Spiral Development, Scrum and Extreme Programming. However, these methods have historically focused on improving the performance of teams within development groups, while largely ignoring the broader environments in which these teams must exist – the agile organization. 

    To this end, I have written a draft, based upon the Agile Software Development Manifesto, which defined the facets of methods, which called themselves “agile”. The Manifesto for Organizational Agilitylays out the following principles, divided into three core areas: 


    (Arlen Bankston via SlideShare The Past and Future of Agility: Lean and Agile Trends and Prognostication from LitheSpeed) 

    Organizational Design & Leadership 

    • Self Management over Hierarchy – Self-managing groups allow for more localized decision making, which is faster, more motivating, and more scalable when done properly. Keep hierarchies as flat as possible, but support meaningful commitments through clear localized decision-making policies, dynamic role allocation, and pull systems with visible rules. 

    • Wholeness over Work Focus Alone – Support employees’ well being, motivation, growth and value orientation through organic, human work environments, flexible hours, workspaces, tools, approaches, and connection to a resonating purpose. 

    • Evolutionary Purpose over Static Missions – Agile organizations should be ready to deal with rapidly changing competitive environments and customer needs. Let missions and roles evolve organically, from within, and based upon demand, by encouraging experimentation and enhancing feedback loops. 

    Portfolio Management 

    • Experiments over Business Cases – To save money and improve creative focus, prototype and test ideas before funding them by applying agile portfolio management, and using techniques like the lean startup, UX approaches, and hackathons. Make this all operationally possible through devops-style integrated, flexible capabilities. 

    • Product & Service Flow over Transient Projects – To allow for faster starts and more knowledgeable and dynamic working groups, establish stable teams and feed them dynamic flows of work via versatile, standing teams, agile portfolio management and enablement of continuous delivery/deployment capabilities. 

    Product Design 

    • Iteration by Observation over Iteration by Opinion – Get feedback through real-life usage and empirical data, not just internal demos via continuous delivery, lean startup-style techniques and lean UX. 

    • Holistic Product Teams over Unilateral Product Owners – To drive better innovation and lessen handoffs, use the whole team to drive product design, with facilitative rather than dictatorial leaders, design thinking, collaborative design patterns, story mapping. 

    These are my thoughts, based on seventeen years of experience across industries, but organizations are complex entities, and there are other facets to consider. Those of you who have undertaken this journey may have other thoughts, and I’d love to hear them. 

    -Arlen Bankston