In the book “Does Your Brand Care?”, the author – Isabel Verstraete – emphasises the importance of four pillars you should consider when leading a company, whether you’re in marketing or not. These four pillars are collaboration, agility, reliability and empathy or short CARE.
In this article, I’ll zoom in on the first pillar, collaboration. Please continue reading to discover more about it.
Why should you care?
You should collaborate, be agile and reliable and show empathy with your clients, staff, suppliers and community to make your brand future proof, stand out and differentiate from others. The next generations of buyers give a big deal about openness and mutual respect, so to have the privilege of having them as your customer, you might better already start caring today. Why today? Because it’s not just words and checking off a few actions on each pillar; you need to adapt your organisation, processes, structure and way of thinking to care and stand out honestly. Otherwise, they will not buy your bullshit.
It would be best to collaborate internally (your team and staff) and externally (your clients, suppliers, partners and community) to be resilient towards competitors and unforeseen market situations such as the case during the Corona pandemic.
If you do not collaborate, you’ll stand alone and get outcompeted by companies that do collective thinking and actions, illustrated by the partnership between KBC and Teamleader (article in Dutch) to prepay your unpaid invoices as an SME. Whether you like it or not, customers prefer convenience and experience, and they will choose the company offering the best of both.
There are many ways to do this. Here are some tips from the book as well as myself:
- Ask your staff for ideas and input on reorganising, restructuring, rethinking and reformulating flows, products, services, and more. You all want to achieve the same goal, so why not do it together instead of individually. Organise moments of collective thinking (brainstorms, planning, evaluating) and actions (ensembles, pairing).
- Try changes to company structure before you introduce new internal collaboration tools. Culture is the foundation of your adaptation. If you don’t create an environment that welcomes transformation, it will be tough to accomplish this. A tool is to do work more efficiently; it does not change your mindset.
- Before you change everything at once, first do some experiments on a small group. When successful, scale it up.
- Set out clear goals and let everyone decide how and with whom they can collaborate to reach them. Motivate people to work together on achieving goals. First, it will go slower; however, in the end, everybody wins: no more reviews necessary, you share knowledge speeding up the knowledge growth of the entire team, and more than one brain leads to better ideas in the end. Next to this, give these teams the autonomy to make decisions for themselves. This way, you empower small groups, shift decision-making and speed up the learning abilities of your staff. Give praise to the entire team/staff for their collaborative thinking and actions instead of rewarding people individually. All these actions make you a good and attractive employer.
- Look for like-minded companies and check whether a partnership of collaborative thinking and actions is possible and gives an added value to both you and your customers and staff. You could also involve schools/universities to work more closely on training programmes, innovation processes, and various case studies.
I hope you enjoyed this first part. Curious about the following three pillars of the CARE principle? My article about agility will follow soon. Keep an eye on our website or subscribe to our RSS feed to get a notification once published.