Collaboration – the secret of success

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Archana Pingle

Like everything in the world, the birth of a start-up starts small – with a founder and maybe a co-founder. And this one or two-man army swings all the tasks that happily result in growth. And growth is a hungry engine that needs more hands on the deck.

Most start-ups get into this growth quagmire – you are growing but not enough to be able to sustain separate teams. When you need more people but cannot afford to have as many as you need, what do you do? Archana Pingle, a solopreneur and an organization development consultant and coach, has just the solution.

Says she, “it is very common that a start-up finds itself on the growth path and is not yet ready to hire a full team. Either because they aren’t very sure of the future, or maybe employees don’t stay long because the company is too small for them. At this stage, it makes sense to outsource different functions to people with those competencies.

Benefits of Facilitative Leadership:

  • Spark enthusiasm and engagement with an inspiring vision
  • Balance attention across three dimensions of success: results, process, and relationship
  • Increase accountability by involving employees appropriately in decision-making
  • Keep initiatives on track by designing clear pathways to action
  • Facilitate agreement among stakeholders for smoother and faster implementation
  • Coach for performance and development
  • Celebrate accomplishments to create an environment where people feel valued

“Depending on how a founder wants to move, he can hire teams that have core competencies in their respective fields. While such outsourcing of functions works well, it can result in chaos if there is no collaboration between teams.”

As an example, says Archana, “generally marketing teams are aggressive and while they may pursue high sales, the production department may lag behind for several reasons. It could be that funds are tight, or raw material is scarce, labour, and other such issues. But marketing will blame the production team for not performing as per their requirement and this then becomes a problem.”

Archana believes that the solution to such problems lies in collaboration. “If you want to walk fast, you walk alone, but if you want to walk far you need others. Even if a founder has outsourced several functions to different organizations – marketing, HR, finance, and so on, there has to be a collaborative approach.

“It is only when all teams understand where the company is going, how they plan to get there, will there be an understanding and collaboration that can result in better growth. I always advise start-ups to organize an off-site trip with their teams.

“Companies are run by humans and humans need trust to have a good working relationship. Especially in India, we always place a greater importance on relationships than say the West. A sale cannot be affected unless you establish a rapport with your customer. Similarly, when you are outsourcing different functions to different companies, it is vital that they trust each other and they establish a good relationship with each other. The role of a start-up founder in such cases has to be of a collaborative leader who can get people to share their experiences, concerns and get them to talk to each other. All teams have to be aligned to the goal. Simply hiring high-performing professionals won’t work.”

Collaboration holds the key to a growth stage start-up. Contact Archana at archanapingle@winstar-consulting.com

 Contact us if you have a story to tell: rashmi.ghosh@tiepune.org

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