03 December 2008

My Views on Collaboration

At work, I have been given a responsibility of driving a initiative which needs collaboration. The word collaboration is a buzz word which every organization is using. The collaboration seems to be catchy because ten thousand minds together can do wonders rather than ten thought individual minds. Theoretically, it can be proved that it is true however there are difficulties in applying it practically.

In order to be truly collaborative, first thing that you need to knock off is being defense. When something goes wrong, pointing fingers does not help. The moment someone points figures, the entire dynamics of the game shifts and sometimes leads to uncontrollable chaos. Try to not to be defensive.

The second thing that is important is reaching to a consensus. When you truly collaborate with many people, there will be N different views and you cannot simply neglect N-1 views and go with one view abruptly. Also, at the same time, the team needs stop wavering and reach to a conclusion. So the second thing is "reaching to a consensus" democratically and without prolonging the decision making much.

The third thing that is very important or may be we can call the outcome of collaboration. It is understanding among the team members. Somewhere, I heard that fishes teaches their kids ,how to swim, with their eyes. Do you believe it? Is it possible? In fact, the nature is giving us the answer that it is quite possible. Another important thing in collaboration is to identify what your partner/team thinks and address their issues/concerns before they ask you. This third thing is very hardest to achieve and most of us don't even try to do it.

When you put all the three things into use, the possibility of getting disruptive outcome is higher and you can be proud of being collaborative. If you do not do all the three things then it is not collaborating.

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