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Collaboration.1-- 6 Questions to evaluate collaboration in your organization.


Are you satisfied with the level of collaboration in your organization?

If yes, then every problem that pops-up should be a surprise for you. Generally, it is not the case, and most of the new issues smell familiar. They either repeat or come back in disguise.

You can get a better idea about the level of collaboration in your organization by asking these higher-order questions:

1.     Do your employees fully utilize their capacities at work?

2.     If yes, then are they developing their capacities continuously?

3.     If yes, then do they take accountability instead of assigning responsibility and blaming?

4.     If yes, then do employees support the development and utilization of their peers' capacities?

5.     If yes, then do they believe a common purpose with minimum conflict of interests?

6.     If yes, then do they take quick action with the information they have instead of searching for the responsible?


Which is the level of your organization?

After 15 years in Toyota and 12 years in other automotive OEMs, I know the real waste is not in the process, which can be eliminated by Lean, but it is in bad collaboration. I have not seen a manager who is unaware of this fact. Ideas about this problem generally converge; however, ideas about the remedies don't.

Have you ever think about the benefits of individual problem-solving skills and personal development training? These are concepts that developed in parallel to industrial development and always supported industrial development. Problem-solving (PS) skills and development training are named after their subject: "personal" or "individual." Their typical purpose is to align individuals with the system.

Although classical management culture defends its position for more than 100 years, changing business requirements let more and more managers understand that high-performance is related to the alignment of employees within themselves (collaboration), rather than alignment of employees with their job.

We would not be discussing agile today if classical self-development schools could have solved the collaboration problem so far. "It's the era of collaboration now, and we need to change accordingly." If you feel comfortable with this sentence, then we need the courage to see the obstacles that prevent us from changing our minds. Can we relax for a moment, try to unlearn what we learned so that our thoughts flow freely? Uneasy, but we can try!


I have a hypothesis : "Inefficient collaboration is due to the clumsiness in interconnecting our minds at the right time and right frequency." I want to criticize this hypothesis in the following Collaboration related articles, together with you.

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At LeanOpex, we provide analysis and mentoring services for high-performance culture development. Our approach conforms to Toyota Way principles and practices.

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