Collaborating because we choose to
Over the past few days our global news capability has allowed us to get close up on the particularly inspiring story of the 12 young footballers and their coach rescued from a cave system in Thailand. The discovery of the group, all alive and well, perched together on a mound of earth, two miles underground in the flooded cave nine days after they went missing, was wonderful news.
The rescue that brought them out alive was breath-taking in its courage and ingenuity.
What makes the story even more extraordinary is that it is a triumph of our ability as human beings to truly collaborate, to unite and overcome tremendously difficult challenges when we are called to do so. In this case we saw a multi-national force pulling together, military and civilians working side by side.
Isn’t it a little sad though that we so often fail to find this harmony and the power it releases without the prompting of peril, of people’s lives being on the line?
Of course I can’t know for sure but I can’t imagine there was any posturing about who should lead, or any withholding of vital information from any part of the coalition assembled to carry out the search and rescue.
In our organisations we often fail to find this harmony too, unless there’s a crisis, and despite collaboration being high on many Exec agendas as they seek to release all the capability in the organisation. The rescue also highlighted that other hot organisational topic – agility. With the weather – monsoon rains and the possibility of more catastrophic flooding – closing in, the team switched plans. Instead of sitting out the rainy season to allow the boys to walk out, the faster ‘out now’ option was deployed.
As I reflect on the events that unfolded in Thailand I have one conclusion – that we have to get beyond crisis-driven collaboration to it becoming a constant state of our being – in our workplaces, in our communities and out in the wider world. As leaders isn’t this a worthwhile goal?