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Courting Collaboration • Between Operations and Sales

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

Part 3 of 5 for the July edition of "Converging over Coffee"

If you thought collaboration was illusive between project people in different parts of the delivery process, things get more interesting when it involves roles outside the comforts of the project. One persistent area of friction is between operations vs. sales. I reference anecdotes from somewhere in the fintech sector, but they can happen in engineering and the infrastructure sector.

Notice that when operations struggle, sales tend to get impacted but not immediately. And when sales struggles, the impact on operations is even less obvious. So it’s not hard to see why people see nothing wrong to indulge in silo behavior, meet their own narrow KPIs and let others figure out their own problems. Perhaps we need something to help people appreciate that sales depend on operations being successful, and operations depend of sales being successful.

The bigger challenge is How… Collaborating across these lines often creates friction because ironically everyone believes they know their job best and at the same time, they also know how others can do their job better. A deeper understanding of each other's job will help, but the important ingredient is actually Collaborative Leadership. Which involves offering input with Service as the sole purpose, and receiving ideas/feedback with Curiosity & Empathy as the filter that allows us to engage with it productively.

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