If people were perfect, we wouldn’t need to collaborate, just clone.
People used to think the way to be efficient was to divide and conquer. And that’s still true, but limited. The next level goes from divide and conquer to unite and conquer. What I mean by this is that each of us individually has a set of competencies, experience and perspectives, as well as inexperience, weaknesses and blind spots.
As a team united, our strengths are amplified and our weaknesses diminished. Anyone who’s ever been part of a really collaborative team will relate to the blood-pumping excitement – the “we can do anything” feeling that comes from this.
So why is it so very rare? There are of course lots of reasons of course, but I think the number one reason is fear.
A collaborative team has a fully and mutually open kimono. and we live in a society that’s been taught to be very bashful. A couple of generations of top-down management by fear have taught us that imperfections are shameful, and we should be sure to cover ours.
But if we’re constantly covering our ___’s then we are not allowing the team to work its amplify/minimize magic.
Earlier today, I took an email trail and posted it to an internal wiki. The ask in the email was some answers to questions posed in a q&a session. I was taken to task for posting it cause it wasn’t “ready” – it hadn’t been “reviewed” – someone’s going to take offence.
Ladies and gentlemen – this is what a wiki is for! Put it out rough, and let the team do its thing.
Who’s your team? Your team is the set of people that you share these characteristics with:
1. Shared goals and mission.
2. Mutual respect
4. A pact, enabled by the previous 3, that makes finding problems and flaws a virtue.
Traditional management by fear encourages us to hide flaws and weaknesses, because we’re punished for them, rather than rewarded for our strengths. So – instead of bringing possible problems to the table early and eagerly – where they can get be turned into opportunities and achievements, they are hidden until its so bad that they burst.
Want to be the best and the brightest team? Bring your strengths, bring your confidence, bring your flaws, and toss the kimono.