Picture: TONY CENICOLA/NEW YORK TIMES
Picture: TONY CENICOLA/NEW YORK TIMES

FOR change to be successful, leaders need to communicate and engage with their teams. But it takes more than informing and updating people about change-initiative developments. To drive collaborative change, take these steps:

1. Before looking forward, look around. Rather than putting all your initial energy into planning how the initiative will be successfully achieved, first investigate what other changes are going on across the business and explore what they really mean.

Go beyond surface understanding of others’ change initiatives and consider how to work together to unearth potentially overlooked mutual gains.

2. Put your hand up to drive collaboration in practice. It’s easy to talk about collaborating across the business, but in reality, change-silos often form because nobody has clear responsibility for bringing different change leaders of various initiatives together.

Volunteer to host regular "change hubs" where leaders can gather to share updates and identify overlaps, mutual challenges and collaborative gains.

3. Focus on reducing uncertainty and building trust. We are often reluctant to collaborate in practice because we are uncertain about the reality of others’ work. Seek to better understand colleagues’ work. In doing so, you increase your trust in their expertise, and their trust in yours.

4. Carve out time for deeper conversations. Out of habit and busyness, we often jump quickly from small talk to detailed agenda points in meetings. In doing so, we skip over the conversations that would help us better understand our colleagues’ work. Start meetings with a couple of open questions to understand colleagues’ broader priorities, current opportunities and challenges.

5. Bring your external consultants together. Encourage external consultants to work together with other advisers for their different expertise. Where any external advisers are brought in for projects, there are more gains than losses in bringing them together to share and drive collaboration across the business.

(Adapted from "How to Motivate Someone You Don’t Like," at HBR.org.)

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