The Universal Law of Developing People is Collaboration

The best way to succeed in any business is through everyone pulling in the same direction. The onus is on leaders to get everyone on board. The reason that many leaders do not succeed in achieving full collaboration is because they attempt to do so by:

  • Educating their staff on the business vision, mission and values using a force-feed” method
  • Clarifying expectations from the company’s perspective only
  • Making sure “everyone is on the same page”
  • Ensuring that everyone hears the same message in the same way.

In spite of these efforts, employees are disengaged and disconnected from the message of what the company is trying to achieve. The opportunity for collaboration is lost.

Buy-In and Compliance

Using the top-down education mindset, the two most vital aspects of employee participation are seen as:

  1. Buy-in
  2. Compliance.

Traditionally, the approach to achieving buy-in and compliance within a company is to invest in training – lots of it. Training comes from internal and external sources, all vying to sell you on why their training package as the one-and-only-one you’ll ever need.

This has made the training industry hundreds of millions of dollars, but there are still gaps in buy-in and compliance in most companies.

Leaders I encounter have a good knowledge of the companies they work for and about leadership. They understand the policies and procedures and can train new hires in a matter of weeks. They accept the responsibility of constantly educating their staff to drive continuous improvement and success. They are good teachers, love this role and display their enthusiasm for the topics and the outcomes for the company.

Wasted Efforts

The frustration frequently experienced by leaders is that the recipients of all this knowledge do not always apply it successfully or adequately. Many hours, effort and dollars are wasted on failure.

The way that many leaders go about imparting their knowledge is at fault.

In their eagerness to impart knowledge, these teachers fail to ask what the staff member’s existing knowledge on the topic is. They do not enter the learning experience as a discovery and exploration of what needs to be learned, rather than what needs to be taught.

In the endeavor to cram as much knowledge as possible into one encounter, pausing to find out how the knowledge is being interpreted never happens.

Finally, the eager teacher falls prey to his/her own ego by assuming the listener has no experience with the topic. The perception that the leader is talking down to staff will cause fatal damage to the relationship and the way the leader is followed.

Collaboration Leads to Development

Developing people is not all about imparting knowledge. It is about finding out what the desires of the individuals on the team are and tailoring the experience of learning to be of value. It is through collaboration  that everyone starts pulling together in the same direction.

If you want to uncover the secrets of the best way to collaborate with your staff email me at


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