Tag Archives: collaboration

The Pause That Refreshes

When Maddie and I have workshop participants take our Collaborability assessment, we frequently ask them which collaboration aspect surprised them. The most frequent answer is Pausing to allow time for reflection.

Pausing is most important when you have an instant and negative reaction to a collaborator’s suggestion.

When I notice that I have a strong negative response toward an idea, it’s a sign to me to slow down and check out what’s really going on. More often than not, I find that my reaction has more to do with me than with the idea itself.

The pause allows you to develop awareness about your own areas of resistance or automatic response.  Once you’ve paused, you can ask yourself “How could this work?” or “How is that idea connected”? If you take the time to consider the merits or opportunities of an idea, it may lead to a solution that will work well.

Debbie

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Positivity and Collaboration

In Barbara Frederickson’s book, Positivity, she talks about her wonderful collaboration with Marcial Losada. Building on Frederickson’s broaden-and-build theory, Losada’s mathematical model determined exact ratio of positive to negative emotions, 3-to-1, that distinguishes those who flourish from those who don’t.

Losada had an ordinary looking boardroom with walls made of one-way mirrors, video cameras, and special computers which they provided to intact business teams. Research assistants coded every single statement made by every single team member during the business meetings they observed. They tracked whether the statements were 1) positive or negative, 2) self-focused or other-focused, and 3) based on asking questions (inquiry) or defending a point of view (advocacy).

Of 60 teams that were studied, 25% met the criteria of high-performing. They achieved high scores on profitability, customer satisfaction ratings and evaluations by superiors, peers and subordinates. 30% scored low on all three business indicators and were floundering. The rest, the majority, had a mixed profile, doing well in some ways and poorly in others.

photo by tbone_sandwich

Losada also quantified a new variability called Connectivity – how much each team member influenced the behavior of the others, how attuned they were to each other.

There were huge positivity ratio differences between the different types of teams: high-performing were at about 6 to 1, mixed-performance at 2 to 1 and low performance were well below 1 to 1. High-performing teams also had higher connectivity and were equal in the balance of inquiry vs. advocacy and outward vs. inward focus. Low-performing teams were low on connectivity and showed almost no outward focus.

So how can you use this data to improve your collaborations? Comment with your ideas and check back to read some practical steps for fostering positivity and collaboration in your teams.

Get Things Done: 4 Ways to Collaborate for Accountability-Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about overcoming procrastination by collaborating with others on a joint project. You can also banish procrastination by collaborating on individual goals.

Accountability Partners

Last year, my friend Karen was in her own office writing her book for non-profit executives while I worked on my writing about collaboration. We’d start our sessions with a five-minute phone call to connect to our purpose and state our goal: “Today I’m writing this book because I want to help non-profit leaders be as effective as possible so they can accomplish their important work. I’ll be working on chapter 4.” We check back five minutes before the end of the session to report on our progress.

A few weeks ago I had a “work-date” with Natalie to stay focused on developing new material on our respective speaking topics.

Vickie has an accountability partner for making sales calls. They work for different companies selling different products but that doesn’t matter. They check in, state their goals and check back to report progress. Vickie also finds that biscotti rewards are motivating.

Marshall Goldsmith, author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, talks about his accountability partner for healthy habits. They check in daily to report on fitness and healthy eating goals. Those short calls help Marshall to make the effort to find a gym and exercise even when he is traveling.

What do you need support with? Collaborate and get it done!

Tune in tomorrow for a third method to beat procrastination!

Get Things Done: 4 Ways to Collaborate for Accountability-Part 1

Do you ever procrastinate on things that you really want to accomplish? I see that everyone has raised their hand, including me.

Procrastination flow chart by scubaham

For the next few days,  I’ll explore four ways that you can use collaboration to chase away procrastination.

Project Collaborators

One of my clients wanted to create a safety and rescue class and knew that he could do it on his own — someday. He asked a colleague to work with him. Together they created a class that was better than either of them would have created on their own, got it done more quickly, and had more fun!

It’s sad but true that most of us honor our commitments to others more than we do our commitments to ourselves. There is something about not wanting to let others down that is a powerful motivator. Plus, it’s just more fun to feel that you are not alone and that someone else is working with you. Just last night I co-facilitated a fun workshop which came together easily and better by working with my colleague Ben Wood-Isenberg.

Working together on a joint project can help it get done well before the deadline because you have to schedule the time in your respective calendars. This is what we usually think about when we talk about collaboration and it’s not the only way. Check back tomorrow for a second method.

Debbie

High Performing Teams: How Do They Interact?

Marcial Losada’s research team studied 60 business teams. They watched and listened and recorded whether team member’s interactions were 1) positive or negative, 2) self-focused or other-focused, and 3) based on asking questions (inquiry) or defending a point of view (advocacy).

Here was the breakdown:
• 25% of the teams met the criteria of high-performing. They achieved high scores on profitability, customer satisfaction ratings and evaluations by superiors, peers and subordinates.
• 30% scored low on all three business indicators and were floundering.
• The rest, the majority, had a mixed profile, doing well in some ways and poorly in others.

There were huge positivity ratio differences between the types of teams: high-performing had 6 positive to every one negative interaction. Mixed-performance teams had a 2 to 1 ratio and low performance teams were well below 1 to 1.

The researchers identified a variable called Connectivity — how much each team member influenced the behavior of the others, how attuned they were to each other.

High-performing teams also had higher connectivity and were equal in the balance of inquiry (asking questions) vs. advocacy (promoting their position or point of view) and outward vs. inward focus. Low-performing teams were low on connectivity and showed almost no outward focus.

Notice the types of interactions among the team members at your next meeting. How could things be improved?

Empowered Collaboration – Part 3

For our third post by this title, we present the last 4 practices that enabled Michelle Chung and Nancy Donahue to have a successful collaboration while creating the tool mPWR10.

7. Be flexible and go with the flow

While Nancy and Michelle had educated guesses and did their homework, they weren’t attached to a particular outcome and they didn’t start with the idea of creating a business together. Their ability to test and be open to others’ ideas and to allow the next steps to unfold, led them to an outcome that exceeded their original expectations.

8. Commit to regular time together

Initially Michelle and Nancy met just once a week after work, discussing what they were reading and learning. They increased the time as they began to focus exclusively on mPWR10. Their regularly scheduled time enabled them to stay flexible and responsive to the input they were receiving. Currently, with an evolving, more mature business, they talk every day to keep on track with their goals.

9. Value and leverage each other’s differences

As Michelle and Nancy learned about each other’s strengths and differences, the way they structured their work evolved. Initially they went to every client meeting together. Later, they learned to brainstorm and plan together and then divide the work. They checked in frequently, reviewed what was working and what could be improved, and learned from each other rather than do everything together.

10. Keep the target goal in line with your values

Their core value is Create the results you want. It is the guiding principle behind the mPWR10 tool and Nancy and Michelle used it to weigh their decisions. They used the mPWR10 habits to create mPWR10!
Are these the definitive practices for a great collaborator? Michelle and Nancy would say no. They need to evolve, be tested and refined with the input of many others. So, these practices are a work in progress. Join us in considering them.

What do you think?

For more information about mPWR10 see http://www.mpwr10.com
Debbie

Empowered Collaboration – Part 2

We interviewed Michelle Chung and Nancy Donahue about what practices they used to collaborate when creating the tool, mPWR10. Our previous blog post listed 3 practices. Here are 3 more.

4. Take no criticism personally – everything is fodder for learning; get egos out of the way.

When Nancy and Michelle first began to share their tools with others, they needed to work at not personalizing criticisms from those who didn’t share their enthusiasm for their “baby.” They discovered the usefulness of adopting a learning attitude, where all input is received in the spirit of expanding, broadening or refining their ideas. Learning to set aside any defensiveness or sensitivity helped the duo to continue to improve their tool.

5. Combine focus with blue sky thinking; consider new options and put some on the shelf to pull out later

Michelle and Nancy learned that they brought different strengths to their collaboration. Nancy preferred to focus and jump into action. Michelle liked to sleep on an idea and deliberate before executing. Michelle also was more of a blue sky thinker, envisioning what might be possible long-term. Nancy favored operating in the present. Along with becoming accustomed to one another’s styles, they realized the benefit of stepping back to think and being action-oriented. When Michelle started blue sky thinking, Nancy imagined how to execute those future plans.

6. Trust one another

In order for collaborations to be successful, participants need to be in synch with the vision, goals and intention for the project. The glue for this type of alignment is a high level of trust. Michelle and Nancy had many years of working together before launching the mPWR10 project. They built a sense of familiarity and uncovered common core values. Both women had each other’s best interests at heart and admired each other’s successes. Trust enabled them to work independently and then to make accelerated progress when they met for updates.

Please read the next blog post entitled, “Empowered Collaboration – Part 3”, to uncover the 4 remaining recommendations Nancy and Michelle have to contribute to your collaborations.

Maddie