Rating

9

Qualities

  • Innovative
  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples

Recommendation

Collaboration is one of humankind’s primal dynamics, but formal collaboration inside today’s organizations seldom works. Companies suffer when colleagues can’t get together effectively to develop smart solutions to problems. Leaders might pay lip service to the idea of collaboration, yet few know how to bring it about. As you might suspect, there is a better way. Collaboration expert Gretchen Anderson explains in practical terms how collaboration works, what it can accomplish, how to organize collaborative teams and which common collaboration pitfalls to avoid.

Summary

The best way to fix difficult problems is to deploy a team.

Some problems require bringing people together to find a solution. Collaboration is the core group-based tool for solving challenging problems. If handled correctly, collaboration can generate new ideas and find solutions. Collaboration calls for assembling an eclectic mix of people and charging them with generating a result, even when only some of them will be directly responsible for implementing the fix. 

Despite its potential efficacy, collaboration is never easy to achieve. Group efforts often go awry because most people don’t know how to collaborate, and no one teaches them. Collaboration can be frustrating and even messy due to the often confusing interpersonal dynamics that arise.

When a collaboration fails, many participants develop a bias against future attempts and retreat to more comfortable settings – the status quo of life in silos. Within silos, rules are well-defined, and problems are simpler and more amenable to patchwork solutions.

When it comes to starting a collaboration, having more people involved is better. Eventually reduce...

About the Author

Gretchen Anderson consults on collaboration and product strategies. She worked in design consulting for Frog Design, Cooper and Lunar, and headed design at PG&E, the California energy company. She also served as vice president of product at GreatSchools.org. 


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