Collective achievement

“As One” is concept that is fundamental to what it takes to be Top 200 great and is intertwined with the four traits of courage, vision, perseverance and innovation that make up the theme of this year’s Top 200 Awards. To our organisation “As One” has manifested itself from over two years of intensive study and has resulted in NY Times best seller by the same name.
It’s simple phrase that can be used in number of unique constructs and is intended to represent the “pinnacle of collective leadership that results in cohesive group of people working together effectively towards common goal or purpose”. It can often be seen as having three key ingredients: shared identity (a sense of connectedness to the organisation); directional intensity (a commitment to the goals of the organisation); and common interpretation (a shared understanding about what needs to be done).
At its most simple, it is about choreographing an organisation so as to truly benefit from the critical mass that can and should be competitive advantage. By doing so it is also about looking to make the organisation more agile and responsive to the speed and complexity of change prevalent in the current market.
It’s more complicated and thoughtful way of ensuring teamwork results to ultimately increase productivity by acting on measures arising from viewing the business, and more particularly its human capital, through particular lens.
From professional services perspective it is sometimes juxtaposed in tongue-in-cheek fashion with the phrase “As Me”. This is generally not viewed as compliment and refers to the more individualistic behaviours traditionally associated with certain senior professionals, particularly those that come from more technical backgrounds. But this phrase’s application goes considerably wider than professional services firms with both concepts relevant and prevalent everywhere there is group of high-performing individuals.
Why do we think “As One” is more relevant now than in the past? Because more than ever the personal direction and speed of travel businesses set (and more importantly achieve) will define their destiny. It is not surprising given the distinct lack of tailwinds pushing businesses along, let alone the headwinds of varying force and direction that further complicate matters.
Like all such concepts, “As One” has considerable level of analysis, detail and complexity that can be brought to bear to bring out the ultimate result. That’s not surprising when much of the raw material refers to our own human capital that by definition can act as individuals/individualistically, and which also represents some of the most complicated ‘assets’ one can deploy.
By way of flavour, however, “As One” recognises multiple styles of leadership by exploring eight major archetypes of leaders and followers, some or all of which in different contexts can lead to more effective collaboration. The relevant archetypes can be badged landlord and tenants, community organiser and volunteers, conductor and orchestra, producer and creative team, general and soldiers, architect and builders, captain and sports team, senator and citizens – which gives flavour of the variable approaches able to be adopted. They are neither wrong nor right as generalisation; they are just different and should be used accordingly in different contexts.
They also highlight move away from some of the more traditional and narrow perspectives of “what good leadership model” actually is into something more nimble that is fact based back to the dynamics of the particular organisation. Ultimately it’s about more thoughtfully defining the right set of interventions to create the conditions for success as part of, and not in substitution for, courage, vision, perseverance and innovation.
To some this merely reinforces what is intuitive. To others it helps crystallise some of the challenges and highlights potential solutions. In all cases, however, businesses that succeed will be those that harness their team’s ability and act in what we refer to as an “As One” manner. It’s not silver bullet or an answer in itself. It is, however, key component to success and reinforces the importance of collective achievement, which ultimately results in recognition in the Top 200 awards each year. M

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