Many visions, strategies, portfolios and projects are defined at the top. And in any such case, lack of support, together with the usual difficulties on implementation, are their part.
How can collaborative structures be of help?
Business practice show us that – certainly in larger organizations – inter-departmental collaborative structures can be an important facilitator. Formally embedded and transversally operating matrix structures will create, already in an early stage, involvement, comprehension and support for the initiatives that are being identified (!).
At the same time, collaborative structures will be of help during the implementation process and the monitoring of execution. They can be set-up around horizontal or transversal themes, methodologies, or specific challenges such as strategy development and execution, the management of portfolios and projects, business processes management, quality and risk management, HR-management, IT-solutions, etc. Collaborative structures are platforms where the different aspects of management are discussed, where best practices, experiences and practical knowledge is transferred, and where on these different aspects alignment is achieved.
The collaborative structure, whether more focussed on strategy, strategy execution or operations, is in fact also a platform that offers guidance to all participants.
But it must be said: collaborative structures or platforms only work 1/ if they are based on balanced and clear rules of governance, 2/ when their role and fields of operation are well defined and 3/ if those structures are initiated and headed – as a primus inter pares – by the strategy office or it’s equivalent.
It is a primary condition that for every theme, around which a collaborative platform is created, the participating departments or BU’s delegate a mandated collaborator, someone who co-ordinates the relevant aspect within his organization.
Collaborative structures stand for flexibility, low cost in terms of investment and operations and instant added value!