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Posted by Sarah Brown on 03 May '13

The three ways to grow your organisation

There are only three ways to grow your organisation: organically but this takes time and money; mergers or acquisitions but this is high risk and difficult; collaboration and partnering which can be quick and effective if done right

Yesterday I was at Trent Bridge for a training day on collaboration - it had to be good so I didn't get too distracted by the cricket and it was. I've always been a fan of effective collaboration and the starting note for the day was that there are only three ways to grow an organisation:

  1. organically - but this requires having the right people in place, the resources to do it and often takes time
  2. mergers and acquisitions - can be pretty risky and again tend to take time and money if they are to be done right
  3. collaboration - hopefully 1+1=3 lower risk, quicker and cheaper if done right

The course was based on BS 11000 - Collaborative Business Relationships and provided practical ideas to ensure that collaborations work, something we've been helping clients with for some time. I particularly liked the definition of collaboration - "relationships that are formed by committed organisations to maximise their joint performance for the achievement of mutual objectives and creation of additional value" i.e. it's not just about liking people or being in the same sector.

There was a great tool about trust which I'll happily share with anyone if you email me. I will certainly be adding the learning into the support package we currently provide for organisations that are considering collaboration but even though the course was good it still did not address what I have previously found to be lacking - how do I strategically work out why I want to collaborate. It was this gap that made us develop the collaboration optimiser(c) - you can download a summary from here.

So for me though collaboration is great first you need to work out where you are going and then think about how you are going to get there.

What the session reinforced for me is that clarity of thinking and a will to do it and make it work are essential across the whole organisation. Now I've got to plan what I want from this bank holiday weekend - hope it's good for everyone.