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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Core Value #5: Collaboration

The Thomas Nelson I joined over a decade ago was famous for silos.  One of the buzz phrases around the office was that "steel sharpens steel" and the implication was a cultural value of intense internal competition.  We've worked very hard to reshape the organization into one of the most collaborative organizations I've ever experienced.  This is not just a Core Value; this is one of our success stories.
Again, from The Nelson Way orientation manual:

We seek to maximize mutually beneficial partnerships, both internal and external.  This means:

  • We share ideas and information with those inside the company.
  • We share ideas and information with our external partners.
  • We seek to understand the needs and objectives of other divisions.
  • We foster an environment that encourages open but candid dialog and vigorous but respectful debate.
  • We resolve conflicts in a healthy and timely way.
  • We encourage collaboration, publicly acknowledge it, and reward it in practical ways.
  • We use a team based approach to problem solving.
Biblical support for this value can be found in the following: "Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor.  For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.  Again, if two lie down together they will keep warm; but how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.  And a threefold cord is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

Like a lot of Christian businesses and organizations we continue to push for greater candor and less fear of healthy confrontation and discussion. 

If you are laboring in a workplace where the culture is cutthroat and/or hyper competitive please know that the culture there can be changed.  It takes will from the leadership and examples from the staff and time.  It can be done.  We've done it.

1 comment:

Guy In Nashville said...

Isn't every workplace competitive? I know that every "job" or career change I've made since college is ultra competitive between it's workforce. I've seen it a million times, the brown-nosing, the smiles to the superiors and down-talk of co-workers, etc. I can't think of a single place other than a mom and pop run business that doesn't have cutthroat culture.