I have been doing a lot of work with senior leadership teams of late, helping them develop and define their company’s purpose and values. This process continues to re-enforce the importance of the value of collaboration. It never ceases to amaze me on the power of the theory that “two heads are better than one”.

All of these teams would tell you that they are impressed at the quality of their work , as well as the profound positive impact that it will have on the organization. Collaborating on such important foundational aspects of their company culture, provides a shared purpose, and shared behaviorally defined values that leaders are buying into at the core. These company values have been born out of their collective personal values, and then worked together to build a set of shared values that they are all committed to modeling.

The process of collaboration is seen as so powerful that a number of the companies even established Collaboration as a core value for the organization.  Effective, intentional collaboration leads to inclusion and clarity in the workplace, which illustrates the importance of people’s ideas and will drive high performance.

I have also seen the lack of collaboration with teams lead to a lack of overall communication, lack of shared understanding of what is going on, and inevitably leads to frustration by all parties.

From a leaders standpoint, collaboration is not:

  • Using hierarchical power
  • Ruling by intimidation or position power
  • Expecting your ideas to always be selected 

Collaboration is:

  • Listening to everyone’s perspective whenever possible
  • Sincerely being open to trying new ways of doing things
  • Understanding and acknowledging the strengths of everyone so that the best ideas can be drawn out 

WANTED: Servant Leaders who understand that future success depends on a leader’s ability to collaborate and engage at every level of the organization.


On the servant leadership sightings front, I had a good friend share this story about Delta Flight 15 on September 11. It has numerous examples of servant leadership throughout the story. It is well worth reading about. Delta Flight 15

Mark Deterding