Organizations that build strong cultural norms, values and behavior share a strong sense of belonging to a community. I called this state symphonic collaboration, drawn from the example of the symphony orchestra.
A world class symphony orchestra, achieves musical harmony that transcends the contribution of any individual or group, for example violinists, in the orchestra. It combines individual brilliance with a synergy of the entire team of musicians. It has several leaders, the most noticeable being the conductor, but there is also the orchestra leader (quite often the first violinist) who conducts the training of the orchestra, and leaders of individual orchestral sections. The orchestra has structure, in terms of both the sections of instruments and its leadership, but this does not enforce rigidity. It aims for conformity but allows creativity and individual inspiration.
The collaboration between the orchestra’s members is technical, willing and passionate.The level of collaboration in a symphony orchestra goes beyond that in most organizations, where departmental or section fiefdoms and empires often clash with each other. While enterprises realize that collaboration is important, it is normally organized on a rational work and technical basis. A symphony orchestra collaborates on both technical and emotional basis. Orchestras have one big advantage: the musicians enjoy their work. When people enjoy their work, they are motivated to do their best and to improve.
Building a culture that motivates people is the way to strive for symphonic collaboration.
Understanding the existing culture is the first step towards achieving symphonic collaboration. A good socio-cultural survey highlights the various sub-cultures throughout the organization. When an enterprise strives for symphonic collaboration, they compare the existing culture to the desired culture. The survey highlights where cultural change is small and easy or where it is great and difficult. The survey provides information that helps the enterprise plan the actions needed to achieve the desired cultural change.
The techniques such as TIMEWhirlpool can be used to help with forming the goals for a desired organizational culture and the specific aims and means for symphonic collaboration.
The STARS Cultural theme supports and builds upon the STARS Team theme. Symphonic collaboration builds team synergy across the organization. Hence, the benefits of team synergy are replicated and multiply as more of the organization adopts symphonic collaboration.