Why is it important

Every organisation, no matter their size or industry, is calling out for greater agility, responsiveness and innovation. Collaboration is the answer to this call; collaboration within teams, across teams, between organisations and even between competitors.

This increasing demand for collaboration brings with it new challenges for leaders and everyone involved in collaborative work. This often starts with a misunderstanding or lack of awareness about what collaboration actually is, what challenges to apply it to and how to effectively facilitate it within existing business models, organisational structures and beliefs about positional power and value creation.

What we do

Given the non-hierarchical nature of collaboration, the idea of ‘leading’ collaboration in a traditional sense doesn’t really apply. We see collaboration as a co-creative human experience that requires facilitation not control and that the role of the facilitator can be taken up by anyone in a collaborative group, not purely as a function of position within an org chart.

We partner with leaders and those involved in collaborative work to understand the true nature of collaboration and the mindsets (beliefs, values and mental models) and muscles (practices and capabilities) needed to effectively lead and participate in  it.

We believe in taking a fully human approach to collaboration built on a foundation of understanding how our human nature will support or sideline collaborative efforts, despite our best intentions. We encourage taking a systems thinking approach drawing on the work of Snowden et al and Heifetz, especially their work around complexity and adaptive versus technical challenges. We also work with leaders to explore unlocking diversity of thought, understanding the roadblocks of group think and navigating the power of positional influence and group dynamics to create high contribution groups.

Video case study

Watch the client case study video on Vodafone New Zealand’s programme below.

If you’re interested in more detail you can read the full case study here.

The Blacksmith experience was fantastic. They brought fresh thinking, new ideas, and provided a lot of challenge and support

Georgie Healy, Learning Partner Leadership - Vodafone New Zealand

The Blacksmith experience is a really special experience. It’s very unique in terms of leadership development in NZ. It’s collaborative, it’s human, it’s real. And they have amazing facilitation.

Jacqui Simpson, HR Director - Amplifon New Zealand

I can’t say enough about Blacksmith. The people who’ve come in to help us facilitate have just been amazing. They are always available. I couldn’t have enjoyed the journey as much as I did without their support, it has just been fantastic.

Maureen Brown, HR Manager - DTL New Zealand