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.
Posted in collaboration, porous
Tagged awareness, Collaborability assessment, collaboration, collaborative aspect, collaborative techniques, competency, Debbie Exner, Debra Exner, ideas, learning, Maddie Hunter, open space, Pause, porous, reflection
According to the Price-Waterhouse 2008 CEO Survey, when CEOs were asked which of the following were critical skills to their corporation, the Ability to Collaborate ranked 3rd.
The survey summary went on to say:
“Although they [CEOs] say that it is quite easy to recruit people who can cooperate with each other, they also say that lack of cross functional collaboration is the third biggest roadblock in realizing the benefits of major change programs.”
So, one message from these corporate leaders is that people are stymied when exercising their capacity to cooperate. Perhaps one of the deterrents is the vertical silo structure many companies use to form their businesses. Maddie talks of her work in an R&D organization where the marketing/sales staff was perceived to promise product features to customers which the engineering staff could not deliver. Members within each function teamed quite well together yet there were few marketing-sales-engineering pow-wows to create common expectations. Hence, fault-finding between functions often accompanied disappointed customers.
What changes has your organization made to foster collaboration?