Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fostering Collaboration

Collaboration is a hot topic in today's work environment. What leads to success with collaboration and how do we know when collaboration is the best approach? One of my favorite reads on the topic of collaboration is by Morten Hansen's Collaboration. As Hansen writes, " Bad collaboration is worse than no collaboration."

So what makes collaboration successful? Much of the research points to the following factors:
- There is a shared goal amongst those that are collaborating
- Shared commitment to success on the part of those involved

At the end of the day collaboration is based on strong relationships. Those collaborating need to be clear on WHERE they are going, WHAT is the purpose, and WHAT resources are available. Resources include the important component of people. What are the strengths each team/group member brings? What knowledge and skills do they offer? What gaps might exist?

Successful collaboration often rests on the skill set of those involved. Key skills for collaboration include enhanced communication skills including active listening, better questioning, as well as enhanced  skills in relationship management and influence. Many of these skills come under the umbrella of emotional intelligence.

Leaders should also consider what barriers might exist to effective collaboration, whether it is related to resourcing, goals (individual, team or organizational) which might conflict with collaboration, values, rewards and even compensation. While leaders may not have control over some of these areas (such as the compensation structure in an organization) shared identification of these barriers can be extremely useful, in creating a context for success.

As you consider your work this year ask yourself the following:
- When will collaboration be essential in my work?
- What are the specific goals around this project? Are the goals clear, and shared?
- What might create a barrier to collaboration?
- What is needed to make this successful (relationships, shared goal, commitment, resources)?

I look forward to sharing more on collaboration in future posts. The topic of collaboration, along with co-facilitation, is one of the chapters in my next book From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching, which will be released this June. 

Best Regards,

Jennifer Britton
Author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2010)
Potentials Realized
Leadership, Teamwork, Coaching and Retreats
Phone: 416-996-TEAM (8326)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

great posts! I am blogwalking daily and I ahve added your blog in my daily lists.


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