Often the words collaboration, coordination, and cooperation are used to describe effective teamwork. But they are not the same, and when we use these words interchangeably, we dilute their meaning and diminish the potential for creating powerful, collaborative environments.
Collaboration has been a big word in the news lately, most recently due to Marissa Mayer’s explanation of her decision to bring Yahoo employees back to the office: “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side.”
Mayer’s belief that we work together better when we have real relationships, and that it is easier to build relationships when you have face-to-face contact is not unfounded. Coordination and cooperation is essential for effective and . . . → Read More: Let’s Stop Confusing Cooperation and Teamwork with Collaboration
Polarization keeps us apart, disconnected. Polarization keeps us from finding creative solutions that benefit all.
There is no winning in polarization. There is only “win-lose.”
Leadership is about bringing people together, unifying around a common vision. It is about creating community.
“Leadership is the wise use of power. Power is the capacity to translate intention into reality and sustain it.” ~Warren Bennis
Unifying people against a common enemy is an immoral use of power. This is what Hitler did — he led his people right over a cliff.
When we are filled with hatred and disrespect, we can only square off in opposite camps. We might negotiate agreements, but each side walks away feeling like they lost more than they . . . → Read More: Collaboration Is the Remedy for Polarization
Collaborative leaders create communities where people unite around a common purpose and values, working collaboratively to accomplish a shared vision that makes a powerful and positive impact.
Their job is to champion the vision, provide resources and remove roadblocks. How do they do this? Some of these 12 behaviors could describe any leader. But when you look at them altogether, a pattern emerges that is quite different from traditional leaders.
1. Flatten things.
They flatten the traditional hierarchical chain of command and create networks. They also flatten compensation structures so the difference in pay-scale between the top and bottom is not astronomical.
2. Allow leadership to emerge.
They let go of the need to be in control because they trust in . . . → Read More: 12 Things Collaborative Leaders Do
Are you a collaborative leader?
Collaborative leaders understand that organizations are networks of relationships and that relationships are the glue that holds them together.
Anyone can be collaborative leader — no matter whether you are the president, a mid-level manager or a front-line supervisor.. or in a large corporation a small business, a non-profit, or a school.
Collaborative leaders create communities, whether they lead the entire organization or a team within the organization.
Collaboration is not an option – it is an imperative.
If you are in any doubt that collaborative leadership is an imperative, and not just a fad, take a look at any of these 22 articles in the Harvard Business Review series on collaboration.
Or even better yet, watch . . . → Read More: 8 Things Collaborative Leaders Know
Do You Work In a Matrix?
Do you work in a company that requires you to coordinate across reporting lines to accomplish your goals? In order to complete work, are people dependent on others who report to a different boss?
Matrix organizations are becoming more common as organizations grow larger, become more complex, and/or enter global markets. They offer the advantages of increased information flow across boundaries, deeper development of expertise and knowledge, and greater flexibility and responsiveness.
However, the disadvantages will quickly outweigh the advantages if leaders think this is simply a matter of restructuring or drawing dotted lines on an organizational chart.
Leadership In a Matrix
Everyone must provide leadership and assume responsibility for success. A matrix simply will not work . . . → Read More: Manage The Challenges of Working In a Matrix Organization
“I think collaboration can be a good idea and I probably should involve others more in decision-making. But it really slows things down. I can’t involve people in every little detail or we’ll never get anything done around here,” Jim remarked, waiting for my response.
Jim’s natural style was just do it and until recently it had paid off. Now he had gotten feedback he was too much of a Lone Ranger.
Jim was right – you shouldn’t have to compromise on delivering results, and it is a bad idea to involve people in every little detail. Jim needed some guidelines to help him adjust his natural tendencies without going overboard.
Three guidelines to determine when to involve others in decisions:
Buy-in: Do . . . → Read More: Collaborate or Do It Alone? 3 Guidelines to Decide
Leadership is about going somewhere. Whether you are facing challenges as a result of changes in the economy, new opportunities because of advances in technology, or already have a good idea you want to implement, these five lessons can make the difference between a successful outcome and a false start. The good news is: you already learned them in kindergarten. All you need to do is remember to use them.
The lesson of Alice and the Cheshire Cat: If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter what path you take.
Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here? The Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to Alice: I don’t . . . → Read More: 5 Important Leadership Lessons You Learned in Kindergarten
If you want to create a vision that engages the hearts and spirits of everyone in your organization, remember what’s important is not only “what it says” but also how it’s created.
In 1994, Connecticut became the first state to open telecommunications to the competition. The local telephone company, Southern New England Telephone (SNET), was the smallest of the “Baby Bells” with a typical monopoly culture.
In anticipation of deregulation, the officers of SNET had created a new vision for the company and a competitive business plan. But when they looked at the culture of their company, they realized their sleepy monopoly culture was not going to be able to implement their new competitive strategies.
In other words, the only people who understood and . . . → Read More: Vision: How It’s Created Is as Important as What It Says
Many years ago while working with the officers of a successful Fortune 500 company, during a break in a strategy session, Dan, the president requested of me half-jokingly, “no more ‘p’ words, Jesse.”
I had never heard that term before. “What are ‘p’ words?” I asked.
“You know,” he replied with exasperation, “words like paradigm, perspective and process.”
Laughing, I quipped, “What about people? That’s a ‘p’ word. Can we talk about them?”
At one time or another, many of us have felt like Dan – that it would be so much easier to do the work if you didn’t have to plan for the people – to just decide where you’re going and get on with it.
Did you ever feel like you’re . . . → Read More: No More P Words, Please