Watching the bile-fuelled speeches that seem to be increasingly commonplace in the ongoing political saga in North America from my hotel room on a recent trip to New York, I was struck by the behavioural similarities between US politics and the dramas being played out on the UK political stage.
But politicians are not alone: similar sentiments are echoed in the world of business.
‘Team culture’ and ‘stronger together’ are simply phrases trotted out.
The reality is that there is an increasing focus on public humiliation and verbal assassinations, coupled with a sense of individualisation.
These real-life dramas are like the glossy spectacle of a US drama box set. The temptation is to binge-watch.
There is no time to come up for air between episodes – whether it is Trump, Hillary, the EU referendum, Gove versus Johnson, the farcical Labour leadership contest. There is just a torrent of plot twist followed by unimaginable plot twist and a sense that it will all end in tears.
However entertaining this is, I can’t help but wonder: what happened to the supporting cast?
It is becoming increasingly clear that the benefits of collaboration have been forgotten as the sense of shared vision and a united purpose disappears from global politics and business. The problem is that any organisation dominated by individuals who do not take their team along with them is deeply flawed and prone to seismic disasters.
Recently, many have speculated that the world economy is headed back into recession; they have warned of a financial crisis similar to that of 2008. Infamously, the hallmark of that period was one of individuals acting solely in pursuit of personal gain and fame, a pursuit that ultimately brought about their downfall and that of many other innocent spectators with them.
In contrast, a culture of collaboration prevents individuals from pursuing solo missions at the expense of everyone else. A network of support between individuals breeds success in business, just as in politics.
This network is the symbol of every successful organisation that has a strong brand and longevity. Teams work together to achieve a common goal; they create a sense of unity and purpose – something decidedly lacking in politics today.
Successful teams are motivated and engaged. They exchange knowledge and share in each other’s specialist skills to the benefit of the group. Strong leadership is also vital – teams can only survive and thrive if they have a clear plan and an understanding of what success looks like.
Collaboration is not only an internal requirement. At Cain Hoy, our entire business model is built around collaboration and partnership.
For example, at The Stage in Shoreditch we are partnering with Fortune 500 group Vanke, Galliard and McCourt Global to deliver this mixed-use development. We also recognise investments have a significant impact on the community in which they are made – and we want those to be positive and long-lasting benefits.
At The Stage, we are working with the archaeological expert, MOLA, to excavate the remains of the Elizabethan Curtain Theatre, which is at the heart of our scheme. When complete, we will have created a new visitor attraction for east London for the benefit of the local community and to attract visitors from the world over.
It is our responsibility in the business world to re-establish the culture of collaboration. In business and politics, while the episodes don’t always run in sequence, it is the job of the leader to ensure that the cliffhangers are few and far between. Genius, creativity, determination – these qualities are stunted if they remain only within the individual; act as a team, and these qualities are magnified to the benefit of everyone.
Jonathan Goldstein is CEO of Cain Hoy
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