Beware the next time a colleague invites you to collaborate on a project: Unless everyone is aligned on a definition of collaboration, you may wish you’d used the time to get a root-canal instead.
One of the early steps with which we support clients is defining exactly what collaboration is: The act of dispersing power, where leadership flows to ideas (instead of people), and new knowledge is created.
Your team is collaborating when these criteria are met:
- The talent among all participants is optimized
- The knowledge or outcomes created were achieved more efficiently than would have otherwise been accomplished by fewer people
- Rapid ownership and alignment to plans is achieved because participants co-discovered solutions together.
Without understanding what collaboration is, we see teams make these 3 mistakes:
Mistake #1: They think social platforms will accomplish collaboration. Unless humans effectively use digital technologies available to them, all that’s created is information sharing (and often, more noise).
Mistake #2: They think they’re collaborating, but they’re really cooperating or coordinating their efforts. For example, the players on your favorite soccer team are not collaborating; they’re coordinating their efforts – led by one person who has all of the authority.
Mistake #3: They believe their collaborative efforts must end in consensus-style decision making. This is why some organizations go so slow, because the leader empowered to make the decision fails to end the collaboration and make a decision.
When your team needs to collaborate do they know what to do?
P.S. I’m excited to host the award-winning collaborative leader, Sue-Jean Lin, SVP, Chief Information Officer at Alcon, on our next Collaborative Leader’s Huddle. We’ll be having a candid conversation about what’s required to effectively enable a digital transformation. Register here and bring your brand of inspired curiosity.