Talent Magnet by Mark Aikman

Why collaborative cultures attract the best people

I had a conversation last week which reminded me of the main reason that I prefer collaborative working environments - because co-operation invariably attracts the very best people. Here are just five reasons why:

  • Good ideas become great ideas. Collaborative people take an idea, without any envy of the originator and add a bit more to make it a great idea. Collaborative idea-generators are never miffed if people add or tweak their idea - for them, change is perceived as support and enhancement, not criticism or repair.
  • Great ideas become reality. Co-operators are not precious or territorial. If the idea needs to be passed onto someone else for development or realisation, they hand their baby over merrily at the nursery door. Truly excellent people recognise that they personally may not have the skills to actualise the idea and they'd much prefer for it to be as good as it can be.  
  • People share; no-one steals.  In the right environment, everyone's contribution is acknowledged honestly. No-one would ever pass-off someone else's idea as their own. So everyone deserving of credit, gets it. And everyone gets back as many good ideas as they put in - as my gran used to say, fair exchange is no robbery!
  • There is no Coroner's Court.  Similarly, in a positive working environment, there's responsibility but no blame. Co-operative teams that come up against a problem work together to crack on and fix it. They do not spend hours or months attending the Inquest, forensically identifying who caused the problem. Sure, they investigate what went wrong and how to avoid that happening again, but they can't be bothered with finger-pointing and tutting.
  • Collaborators are communicators. By definition, people who work collaboratively have to be able to clearly express their ideas and intentions. So good communicators get to work with other good communicators - and therefore less goes wrong, less gets missed, and things move quickly.

The very best people can get work anywhere... So it's pretty unlikely that they'll ever choose an atmosphere of suspicion, blame, secrets, territorialism or mistrust. Therefore, for me the only choice is to create an open and collaborative culture.


Mark Aikman is a Senior Technology Executive with extensive experience running mission-critical operations and delivering strategically important complex change and digital programmes for Global FTSE listed companies.

Mark was listed in the 2017 UK CIO top 100 and is regularly invited to be a Keynote speaker, conference chair/panel moderator and writes a regular column at horizonbusinessinnovation.com and CEO.digital. Mark’s background spans many verticals such as FMCG, Finance & Insurance, Oil & Gas and Telecommunications, leading major operations and transformations at North Group, BP, T-Mobile, Cadbury Schweppes organisations and is now separating the new Upfield spreads business from Unilever.