I travel a lot in developing countries where staying alive on the road requires adhering to a sort of collaborative road code. Since roads are often single or double lane and narrow, a collaborative road code has evolved that represents more than etiquette. The idea is to maximize resources.
In the U.S., when a car wants to pass, too often another car speeds up to block the way. In developing countries, this form of competition rarely manifests itself. Drivers are more likely to collaborate. So when a car wishing to pass moves into the lane with oncoming traffic, cars in both lanes move to the shoulder and make a path for the passing car. This is split-second collaboration in which people who may never have met join together for a common goal—staying alive. When road code collaboration fails to happen, cars collide.
Similarly, companies that fail to collaborate are on collision courses. The fatalities are, at least initially, customers. Customers increasingly expect vendors to collaborate. This means sales and marketing must move in sync. It also means that customers receive integrated, coordinated messages rather than multiple contacts from people in different silos unwilling to collaborate and unaware that colleagues are contacting the same customers..
Companies refusing to collaborate first lose customers and ultimately may lose market share. Survival increasingly requires collaboration whether we’re on the road in any country or doing business locally or globally.