Last week I started a new Making Strategies Stick project with a large IT company. The guys I'm working with are the technical sales folk and as we were working out their strategic story they mentioned that the passion that was once there for their products seemed to be waning among some of their technical specialists.
These guys work closely with the sales people. The way they work together, however, varies dramatically from being merely instructed by the sales people to do demonstrations of the product (they call this being demo dollies) to working collaboratively as peers with the sales people.
I asked whether those who showed a lack of passion were also the ones treated as demo dollies. Th answer was yes.
Dan Pink has done a good job in his latest book, Drive, to show that there are three important factors that affect our motivation: purpose, mastery and autonomy. It seems that in this case those treated as demo dollies were losing their autonomy (and also unable to apply their mastery) and were losing the spark for the product. Collaboration (where collaboration is when peers work together to tackle complex activities--see our paper), on the other hand, provided all three factors.
Another good reason to get serious about collaboration in your business.