Enabling Effectiveness: Facilitating Collaboration and Capability

December 12, 2012

Connectedness and Effectiveness in Business

Connectedness and Effectiveness in Business

Recently, as a speaker at the Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP) conference, I shared the latest research relating to social connectedness, a particular passion-topic of mine, and indeed, what inter-arise’s value is really all about.  Companies have spent, and still do spend, an extraordinary amount of time and resources focusing on individual development and although this is of course necessary, I think we mostly ignore the rest of the equation which is why our talent optimisation and organisation effectiveness sums don’t often add up.   What I mean, is that we ignore the collective – team – development, which is the missing step in achieving shared effectiveness.

Here’s some of the research that I shared at the conference:

People who perceive themselves to be socially connected – have a strong internal sense of belonging and in social relationship with the social world –  are generally better able to manage their own emotions and display higher levels of inter-personal trust.  Interestingly they also tend to have stronger immune function.

On the other end of the spectrum, people who perceive themselves to be socially disconnected appear to be more prone to depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.  They are also a risk factor for a number of illnesses and forms physiological dis-ease.

Scary when we consider how small the relative effort is that organisations in general direct at focused team wellbeing and effectiveness, when what the research is clearly indicating, and indeed what we already instinctively understand, is that the more supported and healthily connected we are to others, the happier and healthier we actually are…..and of course the more motivated and effective we can be.

At an individual level, here’s some fascinating information revealed through the field of Psycho-Neuro-Immunology, about the immune health of a positive vs a negative mind-state:

Positive vs Negative mind states and Immune Function

In an environment of high stress, demotivation and low gratification, the physiology of the individuals experiencing this can be negatively impacted.  If this is compounded by a culture in which support and team cohesion is lacking, this makes for an extremely unhealthy environment.  The PNI research  shows that cognitive function becomes less effective in a stressful, demotivating environment.   So, companies should be aware that performance too will be negatively affected no matter how many carrots or sticks are dangled.

Our cultures need to begin supporting people differently, in a healthier, more holistic way for the good of both individuals as well as teams.  This is how we will begin bringing about true organisation effectiveness.

“Collective consciousness in everyday life: A functioning collective consciousness is recognizable in many settings—in relationships, classrooms, groups and organizations, communities, nations, and increasingly in the overall human family. Although subtle and easy to overlook, collective consciousness is a pervasive and powerful force in our everyday lives”

– Duane Elgin


The Marikana Mirror

At the end of October 2012, Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) hosted a panel discussion on what Marikana and consequent events mean for South African industrial relations.  The title was “Marikana – A Turning Point in South Africa’s Industrial Relations”, and interestingly, what crystallized instead was the appreciation that rather than a turning point, Marikana is really a mirror, a reflection of who we are as a nation and how we engage people.

Some of my key take-aways from this most valuable and important discussion, I would like to share with you as they apply to all of business.  What was most moving, given the shocking tragedy that was Marikana, was the positive and uplifting possibilities that our national mirror could reflect instead.  If we focus on strengthening  connectedness and dialogue with the intent of generating solutions out of collaboration, we could begin to see a very different reflection in the mirror.

Leaders need to become more aware of making their vision more accessible and visible within the broader organisation.  Fostering a shared vision is a powerful way of engaging people.

Skill people up and prepare them to have tough conversations.  We have to answer the question “What are we prepared to give?” in order to generate a more engaged, progressive and supported workforce.

We must acknowledge and meaningfully engage the inter-dependencies between people and teams, and indeed companies and institutions.  Marikana has shown us just how intimately components of broader economic and social systems are integrated into peoples’ experience and expectation, and that it is a mistake to deal with them as separate and disconnected.

Be clear and honest about what the issues are and demonstrate a clear way forward that people can relate to, and participate in meaningfully.

I loved this one, and was inspired by the excitement and energy in the room at its mention.  Above all else who are we and what do we want to create as a nation?  Above all else we are Team SA.  We must begin to hold ourselves high in this intent and start shaping solutions and contexts as Team SA, rather than with an attitude that we cannot make a difference.


We are at a stage where it is paramount to develop skills in collaboration, stakeholder relationship management and dialogue.  Being able to listen, understand, share, respond and collaborate in creating solutions are what will enable us to flourish in a healthier, more sustainable way for the good of Team SA.


It has been a tough and extremely growth-oriented year for many.  So many lessons, and in them, such opportunity for us to expand as human beings for a higher purpose,  for the good of many.

From us at inter-arise, we wish you an incredibly joyous festive season, we  thank you for your connection and support during the years past and those ahead, and we trust that 2013 will be a year of sharing, supporting and strengthening together.



What’s happening at inter-arise

Our next session is on the 20th December 2012 from 14:00 to 16:00.

For those of us in the office next week, join inter-arise at Wakaberry Frozen Yoghurt Bar at Lonehill Shopping Centre for a couple of hours of delicious, festive indulgence as well as sharing interesting information on “the science of connecting – what the latest research reveals”.
The yoghurt’s on us :).

Please e-mail if you will be joining us.



Our 3 day “Art of Group Facilitation” training workshop will be held from the 27th February to the 01st March 2013. This programme is accredited by the Services SETA at NQF Level 5.   It is a wonderfully enriching experience designed to develop a deep understanding of how to practically engage people in collaboratively developing solutions and achieving objectives.
Please e-mail to book or enquire.

Click here for more information about the workshop


A group coaching programme for Women in Leadership Development.   W.I.L.D. Wisdom is a platform for women in business to come together to support each other in generating and sustaining meaningful results rooted in connection, collaboration and contribution.  Positive results are experienced at the levels of individual, team and organisation as relationships improve, people communicate more effectively, support grows, personal development grows and overall effectiveness is enhanced across the organisation.  Contact Vasintha for more information.



A process designed to strengthen team effectiveness by stimulating enquiry into the elements that make for an effective team.  Engaging, challenging, and results-oriented.  The process has 3 steps: 1. We agree the purpose and outcomes of the process; 2.  The team play The Collaboration Game and through it generate various learnings, insights and agreements; and 3. We facilitate a planning workshop to explore key insights and to agree actions and commitments that will strengthen the team’s performance and cohesiveness.



Contact inter-arise to purchase your workshop graphic-kits, or to have a workshop custom-designed for you with a set of graphic templates.
Graphic suites contain:
Facilitator Guide detailing all you need to know to run the workshop effectively;
Workshop Design including Agenda and Handouts;
Graphic Templates.

ALSO…Contact us to facilitate or record your workshop graphically.

Click here for more information




August 24, 2011

Collaborate or Die

Filed under: Blog,Newsletter — admin @ 2:06 pm

Article by: Vasintha Pather, August 2011


Most leaders agree that effective collaboration is more important than ever in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing business environment. In a reality where information, technology and markets are accessible, changing and advancing at warp speed it takes ongoing team collaboration to produce innovative, efficient and targeted results.

This from Harvard Business Review:

“Collaboration curves hold the potential to mobilize larger and more diverse groups of participants to innovate and create new value…  [R]apid leaps in performance improvement arise as participants get better faster by working with others. These leaps in performance describe the shape and power of the collaboration curve…and explains why the whole of us…can often be greater than the sum of our parts.” Harvard Business Review, April 2009.

…and this from IBM:

“To make the most of growth opportunities and unlock the potential of the workforce, CHROs [Chief HR Officers] will need to focus on three areas they say are highly important, but currently beyond their ability to achieve: developing future leaders, rapidly developing workforce skills and capabilities, and fostering knowledge-sharing and collaboration.

…Across the workforce capabilities CHROs evaluated…they rated their organizations as least effective in fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing.”  IBM, Insights From The Global CHRO Study 2010.

Given our whirlwind global business environment, the delivery quality and agility that best practice insights indicate businesses need to quickly cultivate in order to stay in the game, and the capability conundrum that we in Africa appear particularly beset by, we could comfortably agree that the very survival of a company may depend on how well it creates and sustains a culture of collaboration

Companies able to optimally integrate the potential of their people and the quality of the talent they possess, with their ability to develop and share their knowledge, skills and resources across the organization, are the companies that will continue to flourish.

Our work at inter-arise is focused on coaching teams in being effective – as a team – through strengthening the ways in which they cooperate, communicate and deepen collective capability.  We find that the primary barriers a team is up against in its efforts to become a collective de force include the proverbial “silo” that still pervades the cultural and structural systems of too many organisations, inconsistent application of collaborative approaches and tools that stimulate innovation and encourage cooperation, reinforcing perceived divides between management and “employees”, business and IT etc, limited mentoring and coaching initiatives, and weak knowledge management.

Enlightening bodies of work from authors such as Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence) and Daniel Pink (Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates People) importantly highlight the consciousness landscape of those we regard as our talent.  The works of authors such as these clearly highlight that (a) people who fulfill roles that require even low levels of cognitive complexity are increasingly looking for purposeful environments in which they are able to make meaningful contributions; and that (b) organisations that support the emotional wellbeing of their people have a more resourceful workforce and produce better results.

Talent retention requires a collaborative environment.  Collaboration enables individuals to contribute their own personal value in creating shared outcomes and due to its socially supportive nature it also has the effect of enhancing positive emotions and wellbeing which leads to strengthening shared knowledge and capability.

The long and short of it is that businesses must look deeply into their systems and cultures and begin to intentionally cultivate cooperative ways of working if they want to flourish.  Collaboration allows companies to harness collective intelligence through optimising the value of their resources, capabilities and experiences throughout the organisation.   It accelerates knowledge development, process optimisation, innovation and agility; and importantly it supports the desire in each of us to be meaningful.

December 11, 2010

December 2010 The Collaborator

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 1:16 pm

November 12, 2010

Nov 2010 The Collaborator

Filed under: Newsletter — admin @ 2:43 pm

Powered by WordPress