What does it take to create an environment that encourages collaboration? How can your organization find the collaborative success that organizations like Apple, General Electric, or Southwest have come to know as generally accepted practices? The success of the aforementioned organizations in terms of collaboration stems from several different components. The first of which is the very essence of their respective cultures. Take Pepsi as a case study. Pepsi has recently launched a new series of Gatorade backed by dominant athletes such as LaDainian Tomlinson, Peyton Manning and Derrick Jeter. The new G series begins with the G1 Prime. G1 is to be taken prior to activity in order to “provide energy by maximizing the availability of carbohydrate energy to muscles.” (www.gatorade.com) The G2 Perform line is an amped up version of the original Gatorade meant to be utilized during strenuous activity. The G3 Recover line “is the first protein and carbohydrate beverage formulated with the consistency of a thirst quencher to provide hydration and muscle recovery benefits after exercise.” (www.gatorade.com) The product is doing amazingly well and has injected Pepsi and the Gatorade brand even further into the realm of athletic competition. But it wasn’t the scientist at Pepsi that were solely responsible for this new product line. Pepsi partnered with Appalachian State University to improve the Gatorade brand. The result of that initial partnership with ASU and other partners aquired later in the process resulted in the new G series brand of athletic performace beverages.
Pepsi succeeded with their endeavor in part because of their cultural commitment to collaboration.
There cultural commitment to collaboration can also be seen in other ventures, like the Pepsi Refresh project. In this venture Pepsi realized a need to positively increase their impact on the world in which they conducted business. In order to better accomplish that task they have created an avenue for various collaborative partnerships. Interested partners simply submit a proposal to Pepsi through the Refresh link on their website and if specific internal criteria are met the collaborative project is acted upon. At Pepsi they have an understanding that collaboration works. They have, “faith in the power of an idea in action”. (Ghani, 2009, pp.141)
The Core of Collaboration is People
The title of this section of the Leader’s Guide is relatively self-explanatory. Organizations don’t collaborate, people do. Recall our guiding principle, “The successful ventures are truly creative collaborations of talented people committed to beating the odds.” (Hill, 2000, pp. 46) It is impossible for an organization to embody the collaboration spirit without the full engagement of the organization’s constituency. Leaders need to foster an environment where constituents feel comfortable sharing their ideas, which are then acted upon by leaders. This can only be...