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
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.
Posted in business, collaboration, communication, connection, Positivity, team
Tagged advocacy, broaden and build, collaboration, connectivity, Frederickson, high-performance, ideas, inquiry, Losada, positivity, teams
I also participated in Quinn’s muse swap.
I traded in my goof-off muse who kept convincing me to sleep late and go to the Farmer’s Market to buy her olive tapenade. I got Kate’s muse, Olivia, who would only let her think and not even talk to friends! What kind of muse is that for a collaborator?
Olivia was assigned to me on a day when I was having lunch with my friend Ginny Kravitz. Ginny is a great coach and I wanted to learn some new ways to focus on my most important priorities. Olivia was very impressed by the power of our conversation and is re-thinking her attitude about talking with friends to get fresh perspectives.
Plus, Olivia is going to take Ginny’s What is necessary? — What is possible? worksheet home to Kate. This is a great tool for planning realistically. Olivia got the hang of this very quickly and just kept asking me “Are you sure that belongs in the necessary bubble?”
"We just can't stay up any longer!" Shackleton
Olivia insisted I get up early each day so that I could make the most of mornings – my best time of day. On our last night together, she finally convinced me to get to bed early! She knew it was just a matter of time.
“Winning companies today have open and porous boundaries and compete by reaching outside their walls to harness external knowledge, resources and capabilities.”
–Wikinomics, by Don Tapscott & Anthony D. Williams
What does it mean to be porous? According to Websters, Porous is an adjective meaning 1. possessing or full of pores; 2a. permeable to fluids, 2b. permeable to outside influences; 3. capable of being penetrated, as in porous national boundaries
Porosity is actually the measure of the void spaces in a material. Examples of porous materials are sponges, cork and sandstone.
When we’re thinking about collaboration, porous might mean:
- To allow new/different ideas to seep in
- To be willing to offer your ideas to others
- To be willing to change your mind
- To have room for new/different points of view – to not be closed off
In the next few blog posts, we’ll explore a technique for being more porous and an example of a company inviting in external knowledge.
In what circumstances is it easy for you to be porous? When is it most challenging?
Posted in business, collaboration, porous
Tagged boundaries, collaboration, crowdsourcing, Debra Exner, ideas, innovation, inviting, Maddie Hunter, open, permeable, points of view, porous