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
Photo by mil8 from creative commons of flikr.com
I was conducting our Maximize Your Performance through Collaboration workshop and mentioned that an over-expressed strength can also be a challenge. As an example, I used my strength of taking responsibility for things (sometimes everything!!!). While it is truly a strength, when over-employed, it can inhibit the contributions of others.
One of the participants was nodding his head and shared this story. “I learned an important lesson early on in my Navy career. I was feeling pretty good about a brainstorming session I’d just had with my staff.”
“My superior said ‘Congratulations! You just did a great job collaborating…with yourself!’ He was right. Most of the ideas that we generated came from me. I never forgot that lesson.”
Do you have a strength that gets in the way of collaborating?
Have you experienced Open Space and World Cafe techniques? They are designed to quickly foster meaningful discussion and collaboration among large groups. These powerful methods are frequently used to focus on what is working well (strengths) and how to build on that base.
I’m off to a full-day workshop today. It is put on by and for consultants who work with non-profits. Check back for an update later!