Beware the lone ranger! High performing people who damage collaborative culture.

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 27 October 2015 7:35 AM CAT


Collaborative culture works for organisations whose leaders adopt by example and demonstrate the practice and the ethos. Does this mean that everyone has to agree and work together? Not at all. Competition and collaboration are not enemies and can co-exist very healthily, but lone rangers are damaging.

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In his book Collaboration, Harvard professor, Morten T Hansen talks about the lone star. Lone stars or lone rangers as I like to think of them, they operate according to their own rules. They can be high performing, bringing in the big deals and as a result, their managers when thinking about collaboration, tend to separate them out so as not to disrupt the revenue stream they bring in.

Steven Kerr, former Chief Learning Officer of GE penned an article with the title, ‘on the folly of rewarding A, while hoping for B’. He incorporated his thinking around the behaviours of leaders who rewarded individual performance for example while hoping for teamwork.

In an environment where collaboration is the driving force of culture, the lone ranger, like the dinosaurs and dodos needs to become extinct.

Janice Scheckter, MD and cofounder of Indigo New Media, is a collaborative strategist and engaging in building connected communities that will impact business and society.

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