Collaboration is More Than Just Talk

As most of you who follow our blog know, Project X's RapidBI Approach and Platform is linked and depends very much on Agile Development and Real Collaboration.

The challenge with the word collaboration is that often it is just talk.  I have had the opportunity to work with someone who knew how to collaborate.  He is also a Lean Six Sigma guy and that doesn't hurt either.  It was a real pleasure.  We had some bumps coming up with common frameworks, we are both type A personalities and that was often fun.

But after about 1 week I really felt he was a collaborative partner.  We got to a comfort level I felt that allowed for often open or frank discussion that hopefully he would agree that neither of us used to our advantage when things got tough.

Exit that phase in the project/program and we had new people come in.  Sadly we can not get past the 'Just Talk' phase of collaboration.  This is tell me what I need to do, I will do it and then throw whatever back at you.  Sadly not even jumping back onto our collaboration platform helped us break through.  I just did an audit of the collaboration environment and there is nothing there.

Funny how we are spinning.  Less talk, Way less oversight meetings and lets get together and do it.

  1. Jim Reply

    I think the foundation of collaboration is trust. The trust and understanding can be developed but it takes time and effort. Once trust is developed then team members can disagree and have constructive conversation.
    I recall the book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.” That is a little gem of a business fable that reveals many of our flaws and gives suggestions to create a more collaborative environment.

  2. mip Reply

    The issue here is not really about collaborating. Lack of collaboration is a symptom, not the problem. When you collaborate with someone, or a group of people, all the people collaborating are taking equal responsibility for the end-result. That shared responsibility is accepted whether the end-result is good or bad.
    People who don’t want to take any responsibility resist situations where they have to collaborate. They are happy to partake in group sessions, but they aren’t active participants.
    So if you want to foster an environment of collaboration, you have to breakdown the barriers of accepting responsibility. Get the team to know that making mistakes is ok – it is part of the learning experience. If they refuse to change their behaviour in terms of being accountable, then you need to change out team members. If you don’t, any attempt to collaborate, whether it be with tools, processes, etc…they will all fail.

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