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Tom Brouillette Thoughts at Large

832 posts


Cross functional collaboration is a very simple phrase for a very complex challenge.  Cross functional collaboration crosses, internal silos with external businesses and external customers and then external customers of these external businesses and requires coordination and collaboration across all partners to support the various partnerships.  This all must be taken into account to support and provide value to the overall partnership across all of the partners. Along with the convoluted relationships defined above, another challenge that must be addressed is the partner's objectives that may, at first view, seem to be at odds with other partner objectives. 

 

The challenge then is addressed through collaborative actions and consensus across partners.  This sounds easy for this very convoluted relationship navigation and activities required to support the cross functional and cross partner collaboration.  You must be careful that you don’t over simplify the requirements and the effort because this will fuel the failure of meeting the overarching objectives.  This will require a great deal of effort to build the relationships and then it will require a great deal of continuing effort, from all business partners, to maintain these relationships. 

 

Starting with the first conversations and developing the strategy you must focus on building the cross functional collaborative relationships because this is the key to the success.  Develop the relationship and it will make the other efforts a little easier to address.  Collaboration is a two way street and while the cross functional demands and partners and objectives make this a little difficult it is not an overwhelming task.  The difficulty in developing and maintaining these cross functional relationships is the reason why it is important to maintain a continuous review process across all partners to improve and grow the relationship, the benefits and the continuing interest in maintaining these relationships.  The good news is that all of these activities related to building and maintaining the cross functional relationship at not single function activities.  In other words these activities are part of the collaborative activities previously outlined.

 

It is important that all partners are aware of the requirements to develop and maintain a robust cross functional collaborative partnership and that all partners enter into this relationship understanding both the efforts to maintain and the potential benefits that can be achieved.  It is important to enter into these relationships without preconceived notions and collaborate with the partners to develop a consensus for objectives and activities required to meet the objectives.  It is also important to realize and accept the knowledge that the cross functional collaborative partnerships require a continuous improvement process to sense and respond to changes in business objectives, customer priorities, partner participation and growth in order to grow and succeed.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

tbrouill

Collaborative Relationships

Posted by tbrouill Apr 25, 2017


Collaboration is a social activity and business to business along with many internal business cross silo collaboration requires a means for businesses to develop a type of social relationship.  Business customer and consumer collaboration with businesses requires the business again to develop a social relationship with their end customers and this social relationship is different than the business to business relationship.  Collaborative relationships can be a bit of a tangled web of connectivity and types of connectivity and this can be very challenging to develop and then maintain.  Businesses must become more social and open to collaboration in order to develop the necessary relationships and interactions across all of the players in these relationships. 

 

Relationships are difficult objectives to achieve simply because of the diversity and lack of structure many relationships demand to be successful.  Collaborative relationships within your own organization are difficult enough and this is in an environment where everyone should be working towards the same goal, then expand that to business partners and the difficulty in maintaining the relationship increases many fold and then expand out to your customers and then your partners’ customers and the difficulty continues to multiply.   When you start out in developing the relationships these challenges can seem overwhelming and yet if you simply take one step at a time you will be amazed at the progress.  There are continuous challenges to overcome although the challenges become less overwhelming when you are working together with your internal and external business collaborative partners.

 

As in personal relationships, professional relationships and atrophy and die on the vine without continuous maintenance and work to maintain the relationships.  Professional collaborative relationships are relatively in developing and maintaining because you should have an agreement to define the relationship and the requirements and expectations for each partner.  This is a minimum requirement however and must be enhanced through personal relationships across the business partners.  This ‘over and above’ practice and relationship development will allow the partnership to flourish and encourage the robust participation of partners.  Everybody loses if most partners are only concerned with the bare minimum relationship.

 

Another difficult challenge is maintaining the fresh appeal and participation of the partners.  This freshness is the glue that holds the collaborative relationship together and this freshness will also encourage customers and consumers to interact in the collaborative relationships.  End customers and consumers are the most fickle of the collaborative partnerships and require constant contact and interaction in order to maintain interest and grow the number of customer participants.   You have no written agreement with your customers to participate in the collaborative partnership and so you must maintain a fresh approach and interactions with these participants in order to maintain the relationship. 

 

Maintaining relationships is critical in the collaborative partnerships.  If you can maintain the relationships with customers you will not require as much effort to maintain the professional relationships.  It is important though to continuously strive for the connection and the fresh reactions in order to maintain these relationships.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

tbrouill

Collaborative Pratices

Posted by tbrouill Apr 23, 2017


Collaboration requires work in order to be successful and this work is best executed through repeatable processes and practices in order to ensure consistency and inclusion of partners.  Collaborative practices can and should be documented and reviewed among the partners to ensure both understanding and consistent execution of the practice.  Collaboration requires a consistent and continuous interaction and communication among partners and the clear definition and regular review of the practices allow for a consistent interaction and also encourage their review for improvements.  In order to encourage consistent and continuous success in collaborative practices and collaborating results it is important to define a clear roadmap of practices that is reviewed and improved on a regular basis. 

 

Success in collaboration across a variety of business partners along with consumers and other types of customers of these businesses requires a consistency and a clear expectation of the interaction and the timing of this interaction.  This allows the collaboration partners to plan build their own internal processes and procedures to take better advantage of the collaboration across partners and customers.  Business partners require this consistency to plan and forecast their own internal requirements for materials and costs planning while at the same time this consistency also allows the business partners to plan for the collaborative communication, interaction and, most importantly, delivery of collaborative services and products.  

 

These collaborative practices definition will describe the ‘how’ of the interaction and communication that will support the collaborative partners across the partnership to deliver the ‘what’, whether service or product.  Collaboration is a personal and social activity type that creates interactive opportunities and then the actual collaborative practices support these interactive opportunities.  The interactive opportunities require a process and procedures definition to ensure consistency across the diverse partners and the best way to ensure this consistency is through definition and documentation of these processes and procedures.  These processes and practices must include the interaction with external consumers and customers of the business partners.

 

Since collaboration is a personal and social activity type across a wide and diverse set of partners the definition and implementation of processes and procedures supporting collaborative actions can be difficult. It does not mean that it cannot be done though it means that you must start with the understanding that it will require a great deal of communication and interaction in order to come to a set that partners can agree supports the collaborative partnership requirements.  This can be a great deal of work during the development of the collaborative partnership and will require a continuous review process (probably best completed during the in-person conference sessions) in order to ensure the processes and procedures continue to improve and change as the collaborative requirements change. 

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

tbrouill

Collaboration Conference

Posted by tbrouill Apr 22, 2017


Successful collaboration across a wide variety of partners requires continuous interaction, reviews and planning because of the variety of partners and their various viewpoints and objectives.  The continuous interaction between business partners must also encourage and support external interaction and engagement with customers of all partners and not just any one partners.  This interaction with the customer can be helped through a regular conference of partners where business partners can meet in person and share experiences and discuss opportunities and changing objectives in an environment that encourages collaboration and rekindles the personal relationships across partners.  This type of engagement is best in person and at a location that allows and encourages interaction and discussions sessions.

 

Maintaining interest and continuous improvement in collaboration requires a regular review and reference point for interaction and collaboration among partners.  A conference of partners at least annually allows the partners to maintain interest and the personal interaction and focus encourages relationship development among the partners.  The conference also provides a great opportunity for new partners and changing team members to meet and engage with the other partners to develop new and maintain existing relationships.  I previously recommended a focus on maintaining interest among the partners to encourage the longevity of the partnerships.  The conference is a great way to encourage and maintain interest in the shortest period o time and the greatest effect.  There is nothing like personal interaction to develop the relationship and then when the personal relationship is in place all other communications become much more effective and productive. 

 

It is important to develop a schedule of events and discussions for this conference that covers topics and strategic objectives.  The conference setting allows for more productive discussions that allow the partners to quickly come to agreements.  It encourages more productive interaction between and across partners to develop better action plans for collaboration.  In addition the conference schedule supports a process for discussions that lead to more productive and valuable actions and strategy.  The conference process builds partners and encourages collaboration in decision making and strategic planning.  This personal interaction also strengthens partners and interest in the collaborative partnerships that will drive the collaborative interaction between and among the partners after the conference.

 

Software companies have used the conference to maintain interest in their products and to develop partnerships for a long time.  I am not saying that your collaboration conference needs to be as elaborate, however the concept of getting disparate collaborative partners together on a regular basis will definitely encourage participation and engagement among the partners.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

tbrouill

Collaboration Maintenance

Posted by tbrouill Apr 21, 2017


Your collaboration partnerships must be maintained in order to support your strategic plans.  This maintenance includes the refresh of the tools and platforms and especially the content on a regular and frequent basis.  The maintenance is an important aspect and tool to maintaining the partner interest in collaboration and the challenge with this maintenance is that it must be supported and coordinated across all of the business partners, yes you must maintain your maintenance plan and procedures.  It is important that you maintain a platform, tools and portals to your business and consumer collaborators that continuously provides new content and capabilities and collaboration opportunities to maintain the interest in the partnerships. 

 

This requires a great deal of thought and effort to deliver a capability that is easy to navigate and utilize while maintaining a continuous stream of fresh content.  The content maintenance is important to drive the partner interest to collaborate and most importantly the reason to return frequently.  This collaboration portal is most important for maintaining and encouraging consumer participation and collaboration. This will produce the greatest challenge for your business and partners to maintain and add functionality and fresh features and information.  This collaboration portal provides the means to encourage age two way conversation with the consumer or end customer and this is also the platform that will require the greatest focus and level of maintenance. 

 

Maintenance related to the professional and business collaboration partners is probably more focused on the electronic integration and interface to promote the flow of information and integration messages.  Each business partner in the collaboration network will also have the opportunity for a consumer collaboration portal in addition to the electronic business integration.  Again while the electronic collaboration integration requires maintenance to hardware, software and the addition of new integration points as necessary it really does not require a great deal of additional focus.  The challenge for all of the business collaboration partners will be the maintenance and connectivity across partners that is focused on the end consumer. 

 

Business partners will require development and maintenance of collaboration portals that connect the consumer with the business and then allow the other business partners to connect their consumer collaboration portals to create a consumer collaboration network that allows consumers to interact and obtain information from all partners in the network.  This is similar to the integration of shipment tracking information to allow the consumer to request update notifications from all integrated parties.  The challenge is maintaining a continuous fresh portal that will attract the consumer and encouraged the return to participate and collaborate with other consumers and all business partners.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?


A strategy describing the plan and the objectives to developing a successful collaboration partnership is very important and an important first step.  A part of the strategy must acknowledge the importance and plans for maintaining the interest of the participants in the collaborative partnership.  Strategy defines the plan to implement the partnerships and the partner interest must be maintained in order to achieve success over the long term.  Maintaining partner interest requires regular interaction and team building exercises to ensure the partnership does not die of entropy.  Every activity and strategy will go through periods of high interest and excitement along with periods of low interest that must be overcome in order to maintain the collaborative partnership and because everyone is not drawn or encouraged by the same interests it is important to maintain a dialog to encourage interest.

 

Interest in any activity can be a very fickle thing and collaboration with business partners and consumers is no different, in fact the consumer collaboration is probably a little more fickle because of the many personal and social factors involved.  Business partner collaboration interest may increase and decrease through cycles while remaining a relative constant because in many cases the collaboration activities and process are imbedded in business agreements and relationships.  In other words the business relationship is maintained through dependencies to perform activities or through profit incentives.  The interest and level of activity maintained by businesses is also influenced by personal interaction and the interest of the people involved and this level of interest can change when someone leaves or changes roles in any organization.  The business collaborative relationship, however, is not dependent on any person involved and when a person changes there is generally someone else that steps in and maintains the relationship. 

 

Interest in anything is highly dependent on personal interactions and relationships and these will go through cycles where there is high interest and then lower interests.  This is especially prevalent in the consumer and personal collaboration partnership.  Consumer interest is highly transactional and business must continuously reach out to the consumer to encourage interaction in order to maintain the interest and the collaborative partnership.  Consumers can extremely fickle and I recognize that in myself manifested in my interest in various mobile apps and even retailers, I find myself going through cycles of interest with retailers and generally that is brought about when I’m shopping for something specific, or when an something catches my interest through the retailer promotion whether, email, Facebook or television. 

 

I think the trick to maintaining interest for retailers, or any business that interacts and collaborates with the consumer, is to maintain a continuous level of contact with the consumer.  The contact shows a level of commitment to the relationship and let’s face it the consumer is always being courted by something for attention and if your business is not continuously in that mix of contacts  the consumer will quickly lose interest and drift away.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?


Collaboration does not just happen, requires commitment, a strategy and careful planning along with coordination across partners to be successful.  All of this requires a great deal of effort and also a great deal of patience and stamina to be successful.  A well thought out strategy will help the collaborative partnership to be successful because it encourages discussion, planning and analysis to define the collaborative partnership and all of these actives together help the partners to enter into the collaborative partnership with their eyes open and understanding and anticipating the challenges and efforts required to make these partnerships successful. 

 

Unfortunately, many believe initially that collaboration simply happens and that you ‘just’ have to ‘collaborate’ with your partners and you will be successful.  This is probably the single most significant reason that collaborative partnerships do not meet expectations, because a great deal of them do not define a clear strategy to understand expectations and objectives.  I see many collaborative efforts failing because there is not a clear understanding in leadership regarding expectations and requirements to be successful. 

 

There is a great deal of support and encouragement required from leadership for the collaborative partnerships to be successful.  I see a challenge for the collaborative partnership to understand the full picture and the full level of effort and time frame required to achieve results and value from the partnership.  Everyone buys into the concept of collaborative partnerships because of the perceived benefits and the promotion of the benefits of collaboration in industry trade marketing and websites.  This promotion of the benefits of collaboration can be a very powerful incentive to start the process, however, the level of difficulty to maintain and grow the partnerships can be a splash of cold water that dampens the commitment if you are not appropriately prepared when this decision is initially made. 

 

A well thought out strategy that identifies potential risks and rewards is critical to ensure the commitment is maintained during the ups and downs that will occur.  There is never an initiative implemented that does not involve ups and downs and a collaborative partnership initiative is even more susceptible to these ups and downs because of the external partners involved in the initiative.  This makes it even more important to clearly define the strategy and especially the potential risks along with the rewards in order to maintain the support from leadership.  Even with this strategy defined it will be difficult to maintain the interest and support of leadership because attention spans, and memories, are short and require continuous reminder.  Everyone supports collaboration in concept and everyone needs to be reminded why they supported collaboration while experiencing the downs.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

tbrouill

Collaboration Integrity

Posted by tbrouill Apr 15, 2017


Integrity in collaborative partnerships is an important factor and without this it would be impossible to maintain long term success in a partnership.  Legal agreements and laws provide guidelines of the minimum requirements in partnerships.  Collaborative partnerships however do not thrive on guidelines of minimum requirements, these partnerships thrive and grow based on trust and integrity.  Legal agreements define your partnership expectations for interaction and commitments to the partnership and within the business context these agreements are required to protect both sides of partnership in clarification of expectations.  These legal agreements though do not build robust partnerships, integrity and transparency build strong partnerships. 

 

Legal agreements clearly define the professional agreements and expectations between two or more people or organizations in a professional partnership.  Consumers, though, do not expect to sign a legal agreement when they interact or partner with a professional or a retailer, aside from the purchase of products or services.  The consumer purchase of products or services in the culmination of the relationship or the partnership.  The glue that holds this relationship together though is the personal interaction and follow through in the softer and personal relationship interaction.  This is where integrity and transparency really hold this relationship together. 

 

The legal agreement defines the what will be delivered as a result of the engagement and then integrity and transparency really support how the deliverable will be provided.  Integrity is like a bank account that grows with deposits and both sides of the partnership must make deposits in the account in order to build integrity and the resulting trust in the integrity of both sides of the partnership.  Integrity can be described as made up of the little things that do not have to be done or are not clearly defined in the commitment and they make the difference between a cold impersonal relationship and a robust trusting relationship.  These are the little things that build the relationship and cement the long term success of the relationship.  This are the things that are done, by both sides, not because someone is watching, or they are written in a legal agreement, they are done because it the right thing to do.

 

I guess integrity may be something that is sometimes hard to define in words but it is easy to recognize in actions.  I know that I personally rate integrity as a very high factor in my personal and professional relationships and as result I protect and value my own integrity.  Consumers are looking for integrity from their professional relationships as well and this will encourage the return and collaboration of consumers with retailers in a manner that returns continued value based on the perceived level of retailer integrity by the consumer.  Integrity and built slowly and can be torn down very quickly, retailers must remember this in their strategy and interaction with consumers and for this reason retailers should view every consumer related decision based on the impact to the retailers integrity just as much as the return on investment.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?


Transparency is an important topic in business and it is even more important in a collaborative partnership to develop strong relationships.  In any agreement or relationship transparency is a critical factor to success and considering the personal nature of the collaborative partnerships, transparency is a foundational principle that is especially important in the beginning of the relationship to build trust.  Trust is the key to any relationship or partnership and transparency in communications, plans and execution is key to building and maintaining this trust.  I believe that the importance of trust in business partnerships cannot be underplayed and the higher the level of trust the stronger the partnership which then produces a higher return on the partnership. 

 

Collaboration in business starts with a personal relationship and builds upon the relationship through logical progression to business legal agreements.  Business collaboration should be promoted with some type of formal agreement in the form of guiding principles as a foundation.  These guiding principles define how the collaborative partners will interact and partner with each other.  This is not a legal agreement but is more of a set of guidelines and principles of engagement that should define interaction expectations along with transparency expectations.  This set of guiding principles provide the foundation for developing trust among the partners.  This is an important first step and will also provide an introductory glimpse into the the collaborative partnership for new partners.  The list of partners along with the guiding principles provide a great introduction for developing new partnerships by demonstrating in word and also in practice the belief of partners in developing strong relationships.  These business partnerships will then extend into formal legal agreements for goods and services.

 

Consumer collaboration, however, is a very different story that is purely based on the relationship between the partners.  The guiding principles developed and implemented for the business collaboration will play no formal role in consumer collaboration, however these guiding principles will create the environment and the interaction between partners that encourages consumers to participate and collaborate.  Consumers can be a very fickle group and you must remember and interact with consumers in the same manner that you would like to be treated.  Transparency is extremely important in both professional and personal relationships.  This seems to be a very simple underpinning of any relationship and you would think that it would not be difficult to maintain, on the other hand though if it was so easy why are so many companies and executives failing so egregiously?

 

Transparency is an important factor in collaboration and must be continuously evaluated and reconfirmed to ensure the continuation of the practice.  Every collaborative partner searches for transparency and fairness in their interactions; professional collaborative relationships can be defined through legal agreements as necessary however personal relationships must be maintained through common practice and integrity.  Integrity is an important factor in maintaining the relationship and it is easy to lose integrity if you do not continuously focus on it. 

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

 

tbrouill

Collaboration Complexity

Posted by tbrouill Apr 11, 2017


Collaboration is a complex skill that requires continuous focus and effort in order to succeed in the complex and changing supply chain and especially the retail environment.  There are a great deal of moving parts that require care and nurturing in order to first grow the collaborative culture and then maintain this culture.  You must continuously reevaluate the demands based on the changing business environment and changing partners in this business environment.  These parts change and expand and contract as the business and partner needs and capabilities change to meet the demands.  Every partner involved in this collaborative culture is changing to adjust and support the discontinuous changes in the business environment along with the new partners engaged in this environment.

 

Collaboration is a social exercise that interacts and relates people, capabilities and processes in an environment that is focused on meeting the business demands and success requirements of each partner in your collaborative network.  Each partner must view the existing and continuously changing and growing needs of each of the partners as a means to support their own needs and demands.  The needs of each partner change as the business requirement changes and the entire model is a complex interaction of giving and taking across partners to support the business.  This means that some business demands can be supported by one of your partners for your business and other demands can be supported by you for your partners.

 

In addition to the existing demands and partners the collaborative partnership must also recognize and support or take advantage of opportunistic collaborative opportunities.  This may involve a new business demand or it may involve utilizing either a new collaborative partner or extending the collaboration with existing partners to take advantage of new partner capabilities.  These opportunistic demands require continuous monitoring and evaluation with both existing partners and new potential partners or business opportunities.  This is where a robust continuous improvement process comes into play as a critical success factor. 

 

Collaboration is a complex practice of living and breathing interactions and reactions to internal and external demands of both the business and the environment.  This complex environment requires continuous monitoring along with strong communication practices to encourage and support the give and take across partners to support this complex environment.  The collaborative practice is also a little more subtle and complex in that it demands a focus on the success of the collaborative network and this means that in order to improve the overall performance and capabilities of the collaborative network each member must sometimes decrease their gain in order to support the gain of others in the network.

 

A give and take is required in this environment where each member achieves a greater overall value by tuning their capabilities to support the collaborative network.  Each member cannot win in every action but each member should also not lose in every action either.  There must be a continuous overall gain achieved by the network that could not be achieved by any one member of the network alone.  The complexity comes in the human interaction and the requirements to support the changing demands of both the market and the collaborative network.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

tbrouill

Collaboration And Consensus

Posted by tbrouill Apr 8, 2017


There is a never ending struggle in the collaborative culture because there are always reasons to short circuit collaborative actions.  This is not to say there are not sometimes good reasons to bypass collaboration but it does mean that you must focus and strive to start with the intent to collaborate.  The intent is important to maintain because the intent will support and grow the collaboration culture.  Consensus is an important practice in the collaborative culture and the acceptance and embrace of consensus is a key platform in the collaborative culture framework.  I do not think that collaboration can be successful without consensus and consensus cannot be successful without collaboration. 

 

Collaboration culture must be the long term objective for any collaborative efforts and a collaborative culture is the most difficult to achieve and then maintain. The command and control practice and culture is always calling because of the ease to maintain and the perceived efficiencies.  Collaboration can be messy and frustrating because of the collaboration action and for this reason it is important to remember that collaboration does not require everyone involved to agree.  This too is an important and often overlooked concept in the collaboration process; consensus is required to come to a decision.  Consensus is also a difficult practice because while you may not always agree, you must always abide and accept the consensus.

 

Consensus is a key ingredient to the collaborative culture because it provides a framework for working together and a framework for decision making.  Decision making in a collaborative culture would be impossible without consensus and consensus would be impossible without collaboration and the collaborative culture.  Without an acceptance an embrace of consensus I think it would be almost impossible to reach a collaborative decision.  Consensus does not mean that everyone agrees with the decision it means though that everyone understands the decision and will abide by the decision.  The point to consensus in my opinion is that the basis to consensus is that while everyone may not agree with every decision, everyone can expect that they will agree with some if they do not agree they will publicly and privately support the decision.

 

Decision making in a collaborative culture is a difficult process and consensus makes that process workable.  Consensus is the secret sauce for collaboration success.  This is a skill like many other management and collaboration activities and must be practiced in order to be successful.  As you practice you will gain in skill and the ability to gain a consensus and as your skills increase in consensus building your decisions will become better and better.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?


A culture supporting collaboration starts with communication and sharing across channels, customers and retailers to support the free flow of ideas and information.  This can be a very difficult concept for business and especially a large retailer that has developed sub cultures within their larger culture over the years.  Collaboration is something that require nurturing and support over an extended period of time in order to take hold and become part of the culture.  Small retailers have a distinct advantage in developing a culture of collaboration because they do not have the resources to support a closed culture and they have a smaller organization in which to implement the practices.  Collaboration culture is a set of practices and processes that can be implemented that are held together with belief and desire.

 

Collaboration is an action, a verb, that describes the act of working with others, in your early education the resulting report card would be ‘plays well with others’.  Collaboration is also a skill that requires practice, planning and effort to reach out to others and most importantly to find solutions and objectives that provide benefit to the participants.  Finally, collaboration is also a culture and this concept is especially focused on describing and organization or a group.  Each one of these concepts builds on the other to produce increased value and the collaboration culture provides the basis for sustainable and long term value.

 

The collaboration culture is the most difficult to develop frankly because it involves people and personalities and commitment.  All of these things are continuously working against the collaborative culture and require commitment to overcome the obstacles to create a long term culture.  This is a never ending struggle in the collaborative culture because there are always reasons to short circuit collaborative actions.  This is not to say there are not sometimes good reasons to bypass collaboration but it does mean that you must focus and strive to start with the intent to collaborate.  The intent is important to maintain because the intent will maintain and support and grow the collaboration culture.

 

Collaboration culture must be the long term objective for any collaborative efforts and this collaborative culture is the most difficult to achieve and then maintain. The command and control practice and culture is always calling because of the ease to maintain and the perceived efficiencies.  Collaboration can be messy and frustrating because of the collaboration action and for this reason it is important to remember that collaboration does not require everyone involved to agree.  This too is an important and often overlooked concept in the collaboration process; consensus is required to come to a decision.  Consensus is also a difficult practice because while you may not always agree, you must always abide and accept the concensus.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?


Retailers these days are being buffeted from many directions with changes and demands from many different directions at once including suppliers, consumers, carriers and technology.  Each one of these demands and changes require an increased level of collaboration in order to understand and address.  The consumer collaboration challenge lies in the heart of the demands simply because of the impact that consumers have on the retail marketplace.  Retailers are beginning to understand the impact that consumers are having as a result of their embrace of social networking and mobile technology.  This is simply going to grow and and retailers must recognize and embrace these consumer capabilities to collaborate and develop a strong relationship with consumers.

 

Consumers for years have been taken for granted by retailers and especially large retailers.  These retailers have decided the products and the methods for delivery of the products and consumers followed because they had no other outlet.  Now consumers have turned the table on these retailers through their expanded usage of technology and this is in turn causing a major disruption in the retail marketplace.  Consumers are not demanding anything out of the ordinary however they are demanding capabilities that retailers fear will disrupt the balance of control and power and in turn impact their sales.  No matter how much retailers fought these developments they could not stop them.  Now retailers must recognize the change required and embrace the change themselves in order to survive.

 

The major change is the demand of consumers for a relationship in shopping.  Consumers are embracing social commerce and a key platform of social commerce is collaboration.  This is interesting because consumers are collaborating with other consumers in their social network in their shopping however retailers do not seem to have recognized this basic requirement.  Retailers need to improve their communication and collaboration skills and this starts with listening.  The value of social commerce is the opportunities it can support to change and improve collaboration between retailers and consumers if only retailers would improve their listening skills.  A key component of collaboration is listening and retailers must learn to listen again to the consumer in order to deliver the shopping experience for which consumers search.

 

Over the years retailers have eliminated their ability and the tools (sales clerks) that provided the listening capability with consumers.  Retailers have focused on cost reductions as their key tool for consumer sales and this is not the capability for which consumers are searching.  Consumers are searching for interaction and social reactions in their shopping.  Retailers can provide this through a focus on consumer collaboration and a flexible foundation in both culture and technology to be able to sense and respond to the stream of discontinuous changes demanded by consumers.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

tbrouill

Social Commerce Usage

Posted by tbrouill Apr 2, 2017


Social commerce is the direct result of the millennial generation refusing to accept the existing terms of retail shopping and purchasing.  This resulted in millennials creating a new social commerce environment and practices to support their usage demands and improve their shopping and purchasing productivity.  Now we are seeing the impact on the marketplace of this new way of shopping and purchasing which is causing retailers to struggle to keep pace with the level of discontinuous change.  The growth of the millennial generation in the retail marketplace is causing their changing demands and practices to generate a larger impact on the marketplace and this impact has been growing as a result of the realization and embrace of the social commerce capabilities by greater and greater percentages of consumers. 

 

Social commerce is encouraged and supported by may social media tools from Facebook advertising and person to person shopping options to the expansion of Google maps and integration with Google apps and services.  In between there are a vast number of social commerce services and mobile apps available with more being delivered every day it seems.  This robust growth in the social commerce market is the result of dramatic growth in usage in large part due to the value provided to consumers.  Consumer growth and usage of social commerce tools has truly reached the point of critical mass and this usage must be recognized and embraced by large and small retailers alike to survive and grow in the future. 

 

This embrace and dramatic growth in usage of social commerce tools and especially mobile apps has changed consumer shopping practices forever.  A key change driving the usage is the dramatic growth in consumer collaboration supporting shopping and purchasing needs.  The foundation of social commerce is the social networks and consumers of all ages have become very comfortable with sharing and collaborating through these social networks and this has driven their embrace of social commerce practices as well.  Large retailers must understand these changing demands and consumer practices in order to incorporate into their shopping and purchasing practices.

 

The retail brick and mortar shopping outlets have already changed the retail marketplace.  You can see this every day as traffic to shopping malls decreases and eCommerce purchases increases.  These changes in the shopping and purchasing patterns must be recognized and embraced by large legacy retailers to reshape their entire shopping usage and practices to meet and support the consumer changing demands.  This requires that these retailers recognize and embrace the social commerce shopping practices and begin to expand their consumer collaboration practices.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

tbrouill

Productive Social Commerce

Posted by tbrouill Apr 1, 2017


The benefit to social commerce is the ability that is provides to consumers to meet and fit their changing lifestyle needs.  This increases consumer personal and family productivity and allows the consumer to spend more time on the things that improve their lifestyles.  Its important to view the consumer benefit in the same manner that we view business benefit and one of the benefits of the new technology is the increase in productivity.  Consumers are searching for increases in productivity just as are retailers and manufacturers.  Consumers use increases in shopping and purchasing productivity to allow them to spend more time and focus on their own person activities whether it be time with family or time to engage in any personal activities that improve their lifestyles.

 

Consumers and especially the millennial generation are essential focusing on eliminating shopping and purchasing activities that do not add value.  Millennials have incorporated their comfort with the virtual practices and capabilities to enhance shopping and purchasing.  These improvements have spread then organically through the consumer marketplace and embraced by other consumers to enhance their experience and improve their shopping and purchasing capabilities.  Internet and mobile technologies have allowed and supported consumers in their improvements without the need for retailers to support, in other words, these are all changes that can be developed and used by consumers without the support of retailers.

 

This has caused retailers to be surprised when the use has reached a critical mass, causing some to react in a negative manner, because it impacts their sales and their costs.  Positive improvements in consumer productivity has led to negative sales and productivity for some retailers, especially large legacy retailers.  Retailers have begun to realize the impact of the changes implemented by consumers and for some of the large legacy retailers this has seriously impacted their sales. These productivity changes from consumers has reached a critical mass where the cycle of improvements is quickening causing a quickening of discontinuous change for retailers to recognize and incorporate.

 

I think that retailers must realize that their success cannot be supported by a closed loop strategy that does not take into account the usage and productivity demands of consumers.  The Internet and mobile technology have opened a door to a great deal of possibilities for consumers and they are exploring more and more as they become accustomed and comfortable with the technology.  The retailers place in this ecosystem has changed, they are not the center of this system and they must now change to support the fact that the product and the price, while important, are no longer the only factors in consumer decision making. Retailers must change to focus on support consumer productivity in order to success in this environment.

 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?

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