Collaboration is the name of the game these days. Squeezed budgets and a general societal trend towards greater sharing and collaboration, particularly online, are two of the main drivers of this emerging emphasis on working and learning more closely together.
Collaboration ranges from individuals working together to entire organisations putting aside their rivalries to develop a new market or product. It also encompasses new ways of learning, with employees collaborating online to produce learning materials or learning together in action learning groups, for example.
All this togetherness produces some interesting challenges for L&D. How, for example, do you create a culture of collaboration in an organisation that traditionally has been very hierarchical and riven with internal divisions or silos? How do you help team members to work together more effectively and boost their performance? How do you enable senior leaders to collaborate with the competition, giving them the skills to recognise an opportunity for collaboration and then the courage and negotiation skills to make it happen? How do you give people in your organisation the tools to create their own learning materials and then make that learning available to everyone? How do you move from the centre of the learning stage to the wings, working as a facilitator of collaborative learning rather than a deliverer of training?
So many questions to be answered, so many new approaches to consider, so many skills and competences to be acquired!
Hopefully you will find the answers to some of those questions in this edition of Training Journal, which is focusing on collaboration.
If you are wondering, for example, how collaborating with a training provider could benefit your organisation, James Blackhurst ("Collaborative training" p9) has two examples of companies that have successfully worked with a training provider to develop their employees and meet their business objectives.
Or you may be daunted by the prospect of managing all the different stakeholders involved in a collaborative network. Simon Horton may be able to help with the practical tips in his article "Negotiating the network" on p23.
For those of you concerned with teams and how to get them to work more effectively, Murray Furlong emphasises the courage that leaders need to tackle the problems that can prevent teams collaborating effectively ("The courage dilemma" p34), Sarah Cook and Steve Macaulay focus on collaborative teamwork ( "Collaboration within teams" p54) and Marla Lepore looks at a way of improving teams' performance by understanding people's different thinking styles ( "Brainpower" p39).
In our cover article "The wisdom of the crowd" (p28), Kate Graham examines the new trend of crowd-sourced learning, while Dee Gray looks at the relationship between reciprocity and collaboration in her article on p59.
Elizabeth Eyre, Editor
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