Embracing Collaborative Working: The Power of Working with Stakeholders


Collaborative working is key. I was just listening to a composer who mentioned that the best ideas often come to life when you’re working in the studio, surrounded by the right people. At Precision, we feel the same way. We don’t isolate ourselves in a locked room to create reports from nothing; instead, we collaborate with our clients, believing that the best ideas emerge from meetings with stakeholders. This approach has proven to be invaluable as collaboration is key to success. However, like any methodology, collaborative working comes with its own set of advantages and challenges.

Pros of Collaborative Working:

Diverse Perspectives: By involving stakeholders from various departments and levels of the organisation, collaborative sessions bring together diverse perspectives. This diversity fosters creativity and innovation, leading to well-rounded solutions that cater to different needs and preferences. For example, when transitioning a client to Xero, we conducted extensive training sessions for their finance team. The diverse input from team members allowed us to tailor the system integration to meet complex reporting requirements, ensuring compliance and efficiency.

Enhanced Buy-In: When stakeholders are actively engaged in the decision-making process, they are more likely to feel a sense of ownership and buy-in towards the final outcomes. This increases their commitment to the project’s success and promotes smoother implementation and adoption. Our experience with a property management company demonstrated this. By involving the business owner and key staff in the recruitment and onboarding process, we ensured they felt invested in the changes, leading to a successful integration of new team members and systems.

Improved Problem-Solving: Collaborative sessions provide a platform for open dialogue and brainstorming, enabling stakeholders to collectively identify challenges and explore potential solutions. This collaborative problem-solving approach often leads to more comprehensive and effective strategies. For instance, when a large company faced cash flow issues jeopardising their operations, our collaborative intervention with both the client and their supplier led to a mutually beneficial payment plan and restored business relations.

Increased Transparency: Working collaboratively promotes transparency and fosters trust among stakeholders. When everyone has a seat at the table and participates in decision-making, there is greater transparency in the process, leading to better communication and alignment of goals. This transparency was crucial during our engagement with a client transitioning to Xero, where continuous communication ensured all team members were informed and aligned throughout the implementation.

Cons of Collaborative Working:

Time-Consuming: Collaboration requires time and effort to coordinate meetings, gather input, and reach consensus among stakeholders. In fast-paced environments, this collaborative process may lead to delays in decision-making and project timelines. Our experience shows that while the initial phases may be time-intensive, the long-term benefits of collaborative decision-making often justify the investment.

Potential Conflicts: In collaborative settings, differing opinions and conflicting agendas among stakeholders may arise, leading to disagreements and impeding progress. Managing these conflicts requires strong facilitation and conflict resolution skills to ensure productive discussions. For example, during the recruitment process for a property management company, differing opinions on candidate selection were managed through structured discussions and mediation, resulting in a consensus that benefited the organisation.

Decision-Making Challenges: With multiple voices at the table, reaching consensus on key decisions can be challenging. Stakeholders may have competing priorities or differing visions, making it difficult to align on a unified course of action. This was evident in our work with a large company facing cash flow issues, where negotiating a workable solution required balancing the interests of both the client and the supplier.

Complexity in Execution: Collaborative initiatives often involve multiple stakeholders with varying levels of expertise and authority. Managing this complexity in execution requires effective project management and clear delineation of roles and responsibilities. During the Xero transition, we developed customised tracking systems and installed third-party software to streamline approval processes, ensuring all stakeholders were clear on their roles and responsibilities.

Our Approach

Despite these challenges, the benefits of collaborative working far outweigh the drawbacks. At Precision, we leverage the power of collaboration to drive successful outcomes for our clients. Our collaborative approach involves several key steps:

Stakeholder Identification: We identify key stakeholders from across the organisation who will be impacted by the project or initiative.

Engagement and Participation: We actively engage stakeholders throughout the process, soliciting their input, feedback, and ideas. This was particularly important during the Xero transition, where involving the finance team ensured the system met all regulatory and operational requirements.

Facilitation and Mediation: We provide skilled facilitation and mediation to manage conflicts and ensure productive discussions. Our experience with the property management group highlights the importance of mediation in reaching consensus during the recruitment process.

Decision-Making Framework: We establish a clear decision-making framework to guide the collaborative process and ensure timely and informed decisions. This framework was essential in resolving the cash flow issue for our large client, ensuring all parties were satisfied with the outcome.

Continuous Communication: We maintain open and transparent communication channels to keep stakeholders informed and engaged at every stage of the project. This was crucial during the Xero implementation, where regular updates and training sessions kept all team members aligned.

Through our collaborative approach, we harness the collective wisdom and expertise of stakeholders to co-create solutions that drive meaningful impact and sustainable growth. By working together, we achieve results that exceed expectations and deliver lasting value to our clients and their stakeholders. At Precision, we believe that just as a composer creates the best music with the right people in the studio, we achieve the best business outcomes by collaborating closely with our clients and their stakeholders. To learn more about our approach – get in touch.