Helping big organisations build better collaborative relationships with customers, partners and suppliers is a space People Positive have worked in for over 30 years.

Collaborative working helps with risk management, customer retention, cost reduction, process simplification, generating efficiency and a whole range of other issues.  These are always important, but particularly relevant when markets look to remain challenging for the foreseeable future.  Despite the obvious benefits, working collaboratively doesn’t always come naturally – it needs clear leadership and management from the top and long-term thinking, and it often means a mind-set and culture change.

The People Positive experience shows that large organisations often aren’t structured in a way that allows them to capitalise on the breadth of their internal resource.  The boundaries or Departments created to help manage the business – each with their own P&L and growth targets, sometimes with their separate strategies that haven’t been integrated, and individual bonus schemes – can sometimes drive a more parochial approach.

So one of the key tools we’ve focused on is the creation of internal networks that help share best practice and encourage individuals to work across their internal boundaries, and that’s because putting your own house in order is at the heart of working collaboratively.  If you struggle to work with your own people, you’ll struggle even more to work with those outside the organisation.

These networks give strength and support, experience and knowledge to individuals.  They give certainty – they mean that customers, partners and suppliers are met with the same positive culture, the same positive energy, the same consistent and constructive response every time.  They help ensure that collaborative working isn’t found in isolated patches of best practice but it’s embedded across the whole organisation, and the organisation continuously improves, continuously learns.

Building and sustaining these networks can sometimes feel like a distraction because there isn’t always an obvious immediate return on the investment made.  But it’s worth the effort, because when a whole business points in the same direction, has the same set of values and the same culture and faces up to the outside world in the same way it becomes an enormously powerful organisation.