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Forces of Friction

04 April 2017

Most organisations rely on collaboration in order to succeed. You might therefore expect that a good starting point for how to design and manage them would be how to foster and support enduring collaboration.

But many organisations are anti-collaborative by design, although not usually by intent. In such organisations it’s easy to spot the influence of 3 "Forces of Friction"; forces that separate effort, undermine collaboration and leave people radically individualised as runners in the rat race.

These forces are:

  1. How performance is managed - focusing on individuals, parts and activity rather than on the purpose and value of work in the round;
  2. How agendas are set - by others and for others not with others and together;
  3. An urgency for results - an emphasis on quick wins over systemic changes that would provide a platform for greater and exponential improvements.

Acknowledging, understanding and then acting to mitigate or remove the influence of these forces is a great way into building better, more effective and more sustainable sorts of organisation.

We’re writing a book about this but if you’re interested to learn more now then have a look here, where you can download the intro for free, or contact one of our experts at They'll take the time to understand your situation and will help you think through how you can tackle the forces of friction in your organisation.


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