Excerpted from AS ONE: Individual Action, Collective Power (Portfolio; Feb 3) by Mehrdad Baghai of Alchemy Growth Partners, a boutique advisory firm in Sydney, and James Quigley, Global CEO of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

As One. It's a short phrase. Only five letters. But those five letters are filled with meaning and inspiration. They make all the difference between a group of individuals and a unified team. Those five letters symbolize the culmination of individual action into collective power. They describe how individuals can collaborate to achieve extraordinary results--together.

"The aspiration to work as one is the timeless leadership challenge"

"The marketplace is constantly - and for the most part efficiently − selecting winners. Whether the competition is for capital, talent or market share, the winning edge can almost always be determined by the organization that is best able to work together as one. Collective power is a powerful competitive force. Frequently the case studies on leadership point to the enterprise as a whole, and its leader, generally the CEO. The winning edge that the "As One" approach can provide, is clearly available to an entire enterprise and its CEO - but these leadership concepts also cascade throughout an organization. Business unit leaders, product managers, and account team leaders that are able to work as one will perform at a higher level. Whether as a team of five or a team of 50,000, the aspiration to work as one is the timeless leadership challenge."

"Leadership can come in many different shapes and sizes" Every day, millions of people around the world collaborate. We join, share and cooperate with others from different countries and backgrounds, across organizations and industries. The world continues to advance because people are problem solving, innovating and collaborating to make things happen. Some even argue that, throughout history, our very survival and progress have depended on working together.

Some collaborations may be unintentional; others are quite deliberate. Some are modern and supported by web-enabled technology; others are traditional and draw on community beliefs and customs. Yet despite significant studies into human behavior, our knowledge of deliberate collaborative endeavors is still formative, especially as it applies to large organizations and corporations. Furthermore, the study of collaboration may be about working together, but it isn't necessarily about working as one.

Adding the phrase "as one" to another word changes its entire meaning. Working versus Working As One. Winning versus Winning As One. Stronger versus Stronger As One. Think of the possibilities. The sources of inspiration are endless. Believing As One. Succeeding As One. "As One behavior" represents something entirely different and distinctive − but not formulaic. We often look for strong and dominant leaders in our working world, but based on what we are learning about collaboration, leadership can come in many different shapes and sizes. It can sometimes be about creativity, empowerment, top-down direction, emergent strategy, strength in numbers, precision, autonomy, as well as hierarchy. It is all about further defining the different shapes and sizes and applying them to your unique situation.

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