Yes: Unlocking the Possible within a Culture of Collaboration

David Savage 10 Steps

David Savage book coverBook Review for David Savage’s “Break Through to Yes: Unlocking the Possible within a Culture of Collaboration”

In David Savage’s book Break Through to Yes: Unlocking the Possible Within a Culture of Collaboration he covers both the concepts and practices of collaboration. For that reason alone he is applauded for offering a excellent overview of what it means to collaborate in the workplace. 

That is, to create a well-living workplace he amplifies collaboration/ to collaborate as an essential wise practice for managers-leaders to use in sustaining the inspired standard of community.

As an interviewee for the book – now collaborator – I appreciate he acknowledges his collaborators via quotes and inserts. He models the way by sharing credit for those offering reminders linked to his lived experience while opening new insights.

He uses examples from his work. In doing so, he shares a deeper connection to his truth about collaboration.

David Savage

From David Savage

A great way to gain insight into David Savage’s book is to read his responses to these three questions:

Q. You have had forty years of experience shaping collaborative cultures. Why did you decide to share such valuable information in Break Through to Yes

A: Business forced into sllos must give way to open and agile systems that better suit today’s needs. The costs of command and control leadership are getting higher. During my 40-year career in business, I have held titles including Director, President, and Chief Operating Officer. Throughout this time, I have seen repeated failures—sometimes with costs in the billions—affect organizations and their capital projects and operations. When a company starts making mistakes, tries to force its agenda on others or is in conflict with its stakeholders, the consequences are significant. People revolt and profit margins destroyed; projects get delayed in regulatory and community review for extended lengths of time; employees simply don’t give their best because they do not trust the systems they work in, especially when they have little influence in the processes or programs in which they are involved.

The costs to organizations can be both internal and external disengagement, rejection by regulatory bodies and governments, impacted communities, and even damage to the environment. Add to that a wide range of human costs including everything from depression, conflict, suicide, marital breakdown and career paralysis to the loss of the intelligence and vision of the brightest people in your business simply because they mentally check out when they come to work. All this means lost productivity, lost opportunities to grow and prosper, and distracted leaders and workers who no longer feel able to do good work.

Leaders and organizations, however, can gain a key strategic advantage by avoiding all of this energy and revenue sapping negativity by working together to build a culture of collaboration.

I am a lifelong student of how to get the right people in the right place with the right information in the right mindset to figure out how to conquer challenges and solve conflicts together. I have invested my ten thousand hours (volunteer, association and corporate) to building awareness, capacity, round tables, organizations and success through working together.

Simply put, I realized the pain and frustration that organizations and societies are increasingly stuck in and I committed to be part of the profound evolution of how leaders develop their teams, networks and strategic advantages.

David Savage book cover

Q: What are the most common collaboration mistakes you see among organizations and teams? How do you approach those mistakes in Break Through to Yes

A: Three most common mistakes are to;

  • – Not understand what collaboration is and requires,
  • – See collaboration as an event rather than as the way we do business,
  • – Ignore the underlying interests, challenges and opportunities,

and a bonus:

  • – Look for C-Suite heroes rather than building effective teams.

While we constantly search for the next heroic leader, we set them up to fail. The time span from putting corporate presidents in the control towers to seeing their organizations, projects and initiatives crash and burn is, too often, measured in a few short years.

Businesses that focus heavily on quarterly results for the stock market waste future possibilities.

The business world today is complex and challenging. The old command and control/top down style fails us. We must find healthy and innovative ways to engage and include all expertise and perspectives. Current and future leaders are actively seeking a “how to” guide that explores and then designs what is right for them, their business and their teams.

When I started to research this book several years ago, I invited many perspectives from across the world to link ideas. My intent was to help leaders realize the power of collaboration. Now, I invite the reader to realize that collaboration is far more than just an event or series of events; collaboration is a culture; the way we work together to get the highest value additions captured.

Often business leaders need to solve pressing questions, like:

  • – how do I deal with a political or power-driven agendas on my team?
  • – how do I get my team to stop being negative and help me to solve these challenges?
  • – how do I foster new ideas that translate into actual implemented steps?
  • – how do I clarify the purpose of effective collaboration?

We set ourselves up for failure when we make common collaboration mistakes, but you don’t need to!

To assist organizations to build their collaborative culture and business successes, I offer an Assessment Tool both in my book and online to measure the pre-conditions, organizational personality and gaps.

David Savage book cover

Q: So much of your life focuses on collaboration. Why is a culture of collaboration so important? 

A: A culture of collaboration is the best way to understand, explore, engage and succeed. Collaboration done well is a powerful system of getting things done right. Increasingly business is mired down in resistance, conflict and failure.

In business, politics and media, the Mediots get the initial spotlight (those that enrage, prejudice and divide). Later, the collaborators in learning organizations resolve the damage done. Let’s minimize the influence of the Mediots, conserve the energy taken by conflict and maximize the possibilities for our companies, communities and planet.

Building a culture of collaboration is a key strategic advantage for all organizations including not-for-profits, the military and governments. As they grow their teams, they will find greater ability to read situations and react quickly. Organizations will reduce the resistance to change and success when they are truly connected to the challengers, visionaries and operators in their networks.

Fostering a culture of collaboration is the key to innovative, inclusive and sustainable growth. By working together in progressive systems, we all benefit. Contrast this to the divisive, destructive and isolating organizational cultures of the master/servant. Ego-centered power brokers and silo builders cause us to miss opportunities— especially the opportunity to build the capacities and future careers of our people.

A progression on collaboration is emerging: awareness, education, assessment, design, access to necessary resources and processes including my 10-step process.

As I advanced my appreciation of working together and researching best practices, I realized that not knowing the answer or outcome in advance is one of the most profound qualities of great leadership. Simply put, I don’t have all the answers to today’s complexity. I do have the resources, systems and networks that bring me the better answers.

Final Note

I recommend the book. His work is solid, applicable and as a reviewer from Kirkus Media wrote “Canadian collaboration expert Savage (a contributor to Ready, Aim, Excel , 2012) offers a work that couldn’t be more timely.” Read the full review: BTtY Kirkus Review.

David Savage book cover

Read what others are saying:

David B. Savage’s Break Through to Yes provides the key for real success—collaboration!
—Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers 50 #1 Leadership Thinker in the World and Top 5 Management Thinker 2015.

Written in a manner that illustrates collaboration in action, Break Through to Yes shares decades’ worth of knowledge and a structure that outlines what true collaboration looks like.
—David L. Milia, MBA, CET, Associate Director, Centre for Corporate Sustainability/ Energy Initiatives, Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary

What a concept; a masterful book on Collaborative Leadership that is truly collaborative! This book will have you take a whole new look at how you operate in business. A MUST read.
—Teresa de Grosbois, #1 International Bestselling author of Mass Influence

From the book’s opening metaphor to its final appendix, David Savage’s Break Through to Yes is filled with valuable insights, quotes and suggestions on why and how to see collaboration as the best (perhaps only) path to a successful and sustainable yes. Supported and enriched by many examples from his own work and the experiences of others, each section offers hope and direction with respect to how we can choose a different path in the way we work, communicate, problem solve and interact with just about anyone.
—David Gouthro, Facilitator and Past President of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers

What if all of the stakeholders in your project, with competing interests and goals, had your back? What if all stakeholders can achieve their goals while supporting the goals of the others? With great insight and wisdom, David Savage shows us that leaders who use collaboration as their goal achieve just that. Don’t mistake this book for just another “how to” missive. Break Though To Yes is a unique and powerful business tool that changes the culture of how to get things done.
—Jeffrey M. Cohen, Esq., Mediator and Facilitator, Board Member of the Collaborative Global Initiative, Co-Chair of the Association for Conflict Resolution Ethics Committee

Everyone plays a leadership role at some point in their lives whether it’s with family at home, peers at school, or employees in the workplace. David Savage’s Break Through to Yes is an essential tool in the toolbox to help leaders truly understand how to create a culture of effective collaboration and when it should be implemented.
—Don Simmons, President & CEO, Hemisphere Energy Corporation

Press Kit: Break Through To Yes Press CdnKit (1)

David Savage via www.DavidBSavage.com 

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