Collaboration is key to achieving results in organizations. Yet cultural programming and the pounding mantra to compete from every sector of society often overshadows the possibility of collaboration. Thankfully today there seems to be a growing interest, along with a growing need to collaborate.
So just what does it mean to collaborate? Collaboration involves two or more people coming together to share their collective knowledge, experience, and creativity to arrive at a shared understanding or tangible outcome that none of the individuals could have arrived at on their own. Collaboration is more complex than teamwork, which tends to operate in a sequential fashion to accomplish tasks or to join together to defend against outside forces.
I like what Michael Schrage of MIT has to say about collaboration …[collaboration is about] the creation of value; a process that our traditional structures of communication and teamwork can’t achieve.
For a good primer on Collaboration, read Recognizing Barriers to Collaboration, an article reviewing eight typical barriers to collaboration and what to do about them.
Collaboration 20/20. I’m considering developing content around 20 archetypes or skill sets accompanied by 20 practices to facilitate the development of collaboration among individuals and groups who see the potential of better collaboration in their organizations.