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The Collaboration Advantage

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

A number of people believe collaboration is a wonderful idea in theory, although to implement in the real world it takes more time, more resources and more people. This article dispels that notion, highlighting teams collaborating together encourage simplicity and productivity.  

Managing layers of complexity

As the business landscape is becoming more complex, there are more and more layers to manage, such as growing levels of compliance, sustainability challenges, changing demographics, the digital tsunami and the list goes on.

The temptation is to add more layers in your organisation to cope with this onslaught.

For example the risk and compliance committee, the digital transformation team, the corporate social responsibility team, and the quality assurance team.

It is not long before people in your organisation are spending as much time meeting internal requirements as they are on delivering value to your customers.

There is another way. It is called leveraging the collaboration advantage, the more you collaborate, the less resources you need to do your work.

This in turn means:

  • Less people

  • Less management layers

  • Less equipment

  • Less time

  • Less inventory

  • Less working capital

To deliver the same and increased value.

Smart Simplicity

Yves Morieux elegantly summed up this concept in the following graph in his Ted Talk - 6 rules for smart simplicity.

On the vertical axis are the resources you need to get work done. On the horizontal access is the degree to which you collaborate with others. Morieux’s research suggests the drop in resources needed to do the same work is exponentially smaller.

The conclusion being if you want to increase productivity, do not add more layers, but increase collaboration.

Therefore how you design your organisation structure and processes, should seek to maximise the seamless integration between the teams to deliver customer value.  

Fortunately, there are a series of new tools and management approaches that are starting to enable organisations to operate in simpler and faster ways, for example:

  1. Managers as facilitators e.g. training managers to focus on empowering and enabling people to work collaboratively

  2. Team of teams approach to portfolios of work

  3. Collaboration platforms e.g. Slack, Workplace by Facebook, Microsoft Teams

  4. Agile frameworks e.g. short 30 min stand up meetings to coordinate and synchronise.

These tools and approaches enable a move to a more collaborative and well-informed working environment; which positively correlates to a more productive and satisfying place to work.


In an increasingly more complex world, the old management paradigm of command and control has reached its limits, the new paradigm is collaboration and this ensures people are:

  • Connected and committed to the goals of the organisation

  • Continually informing and remaining informed about the business

  • Dealing with a far simpler organisation with fewer barriers to getting their work done.

We call this the collaboration advantage.

Kevin Nuttall

Director, Waterfield

Collaboration is one of Waterfield’s core principles, find out more about our principles and what we believe


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