I am a passionate advocate for collaboration for four reasons:
1) Collaboration is literally in my genes. I was born the day after my father was sworn in as the youngest governor of the State of West Virginia in 1957 at 34 years old. He was the first Republican elected in the 2:1 Democratic state and won in large part because he had recruited and mobilized 3000 volunteers.
2) In every leadership role I have had, from being a Boy Scout patrol leader at age 12 to leading start ups and larger organizations to consulting, success has required motivating extraordinary teams to communicate and collaborate to create value. The coalition loyalty model is 100% dependent upon collaboration and its power is evidence by the success of the AIR MILES and Nectar programs.
3) In every organization I have worked in, I have seen first-hand the value created by ideas contributed by employees outside of the C-level group and by business partners and customers outside of the company.
4) Even the smallest VC’s and private equity firms mine their networks relentlessly to make sure they have tapped a broad coalition of experts before making investments.
I have never believed that value is maximized by the ideas of and solo decisions made by one smart executive, no matter how deep his or her expertise. I believe in the wisdom of crowds.