The last few days, HBR has caused me to start thinking, yet again. There was an article posted to their blog about how each organization needs to have a Chief Collaboration Officer. As I started reading and processing the article, it made perfect sense.
Increasingly, companies are embracing collaboration as part of their strategy to grow, by cross-selling products to existing customers and innovating through the recombination of existing technologies. But this won't work unless employees work effectively across silos — across sales offices, business units, sales, product development, and marketing.
This new Chief would be the person responsible to connecting the different areas within the organization and beating down those silos. Beyond this, new media would be housed under this Chief. Which, in my opinion, is the perfect location. This person is someone who would teach their staff how to develop relationships on and offline. Staff in other departments would know who to go to for specific projects. They would be the people connecting others together to work more efficiently. They would be the new type of project manager.
...craft a holistic solution to collaboration, one that involves strategy, HR, product development, sales solutions, marketing, and IT. In short, he needs to be a masterful collaborator. Choosing a CCO is less about which role a person currently occupies and more about whether he or she has the skills. Pick the best collaborator.
In a older, hierarchal system, this would be extremely difficult to implement. This new type of employee could be perceived as rocking the boat. I would encourage those who see this type of position this way to examine their structure. Where are the silos? Are there any? Is this type of collaboration happening naturally? Are specific people already fulfilling this role but without the Chief title? If they are, connect with those individual. You never know, you might already have someone on staff who is perfect for this role.