Wendy Talbot PhD – Director

2 April 2020

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Introducing the JUST Leadership© Activity Cards

Activity Card 5: Decisiveness through collaboration

Principle Māori: Kotahitanga – Unity, team work, consensus, working together[1]

Western Principle: Determining direction through collaboration and inclusiveness

When people work well together, the results they produce can be significantly more effective than what they might produce alone.

As I write this blog, I am working from home during the COVID-19 Level 4 lock-down. The importance of working together as an entire nation, alongside most other nations, to collectively stamp out Corona Virus is unquestionable. What has stood out to me over these weeks is the commitment to put people and their wellbeing first. So often, economic priorities come at the cost of human and environmental wellbeing. If there is one lasting change that might come out of this pandemic, my hope is that human and environmental wellbeing are prioritised. The Government claim is that the economy will recover. And it will. But it will take people to drive this. If people are healthy and work together in collaborative and inclusive ways the chances of economic success can only be greater.

Everyone, in every organisation, will be affected by this event. As people get back to work in their various offices, shops, warehouses, factories, workshops and campuses it will be the perfect opportunity to regroup, re-vision and recover.

A guiding principle of JUST Leadership© is that everyone has knowledge, expertise and experience to contribute. When they are given opportunities to contribute their knowledge, expertise and experience in ways that are valued and appreciated, they shape a culture and ethos of inclusiveness and collaboration. These are ingredients for organisational success.

Working together may not be an easy undertaking. It may involve risk, conflict and challenges. Furthermore, consensus may not mean that everyone agrees entirely with the result. However, if the process is managed well, people will have contributed fully, been heard and respected. They will have played a part in accomplishing results that are in the best interests of the values and goals of the organisation, its staff, customers and other stakeholders.

One important ingredient for achieving collaborative and inclusive work environments is time. Time spent in regrouping and re-visioning may well save time spent in damage control; reviewing and refining decisions that did not adequately account for different perspectives and expectations. Costs of unnecessary staff turnover and loss of commitment, passion and worth can outweigh the value of time spent involving people in planning and decision-making. The idea that “time is money” may need to be replaced with “time well spent can be money well spent”. People who are involved and part of planning and decision-making tend to be more committed to the success of any undertaking.

Reflexive questions

  • When you consider the idea of collaborative, collective decision-making what response do you have?
  • Why?
  • What short and long term impacts are there if these decision-making processes are adopted?


Harmsworth, G. (2010). Sustainability and Māori business. In B. Frame, R. Gordon & C. Mortimer, Hatched: The capacity for sustainable development (pp.97-108). Lincoln, New Zealand: Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd.

[1] (Harmsworth, 2005)

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