This is a guest article from Anoop Nathwani, Managing Director of Consortio Consulting Ltd

One of the tips to developing and maintaining great Strategic Alliances and Partnerships rests with having a great collaborative culture inside your own organisation. “Why is this important?”, I hear you ask.

Charles Darwin once said, “In the long history of humankind – those who have learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” Charles Darwin’s words when applied to businesses large and small today hold very true. It is those companies that collaborate that will accelerate away from their competitors. After all, the Harvard Business Review in January 2013 said that “Collaboration is the new competition”. The IBM Global CEO study of 2012 also identified that Collaboration is key to innovate and differentiate from competition. Forrester Research in 2011 also identified that the biggest threat to enabling companies to innovate, was the threat of collaboration.

Collaboration can be both external collaboration, and internal collaboration. However in order for external collaboration to really work, internal collaboration and the culture of an organisation needs to support and embrace collaboration. The Forrester Research in 2011 actually identified internal collaboration as just as big a threat as external collaboration. So before companies really start to move forward to collaborating externally, they need to address the culture within their own organisation such that there is a culture of collaboration, which can then help support outbound collaborative activities.

I have worked for many organisations where external collaboration activities have failed miserably due to the fact that the internal culture of the organisation is competitive between its own Business Units and departments. Remember that competition should sit on the outside of your organisation, not on the inside of your organisation. When developing and managing Alliances with external partners, you need to make sure that you can effectively drive activities internally in your organisation, and if your organisation does not support a collaborative culture, then any partnering initiative will face a very rocky road.

Do you think that fostering an internal collaborative culture would hinder or help you in forming and managing external partnerships? If resources were limited in your company, where would you apply those limited resources; in fostering an internal collaborative culture or forming external collaborative relationships?

About Anoop Nathwani: Anoop is the Founder and Managing Director of Consortio Consulting Ltd, a relationship management consultancy helping organisations to create, capture and maximise value through collaboration. Connect with Anoop on Linkedin

One Response to “Do we need an internal collaborative culture?”