It is widely recognised in the community sector that lasting social, environmental and economic change requires collaboration – collaboration both within organisations and between organisations such as community groups, schools, health providers, businesses and policy makers.
While collaboration is equally needed for a thriving private sector, many leaders are suspicious of it. Within organisations, departments compete with each other for a share of company resources, and individuals strive to prove their superior competence. As a result, customers receive an adequate, rather than the best, solution and an opening is created for competitors.
Similarly, businesses within communities often work in isolation, wary of the success of competing and complementary businesses, when greater profitability could be achieved by working together. Bricks and mortar businesses, such as clothing retailers, hospitality providers, and vehicle servicing workshops, often find sales increase when they are located in a cluster of similar or complementary businesses, as it makes it easy for consumers to compare solutions. Similarly, competing tourism experiences within a region, by increasing visitor options, can benefit all businesses in the locality by extending visitor stays.
Consider how your organisation might collaborate with others. Could you work together to increase profitability in your industry or region through promotion, or by lobbying for improved infrastructure? Perhaps you could improve the safety and prosperity of your community by supporting community organisations? Is it time to encourage and reward constructive collaboration within your organisation as well?
This article was first published in the Mercury Bay Informer of 26 December 2018. See www.theinformer.co.nz