In the 21st century, what isn’t complicated? Our dense, interdependent, global, and highly connected world means that most things are more complicated than ever. But we humans are still mostly tribal.
To me that suggest placing more emphasis on developing and honing collaboration mindsets and skills. What would your list of mindsets and skills include?
Here’s my starter list.
See it. With whom can I work? Faced with an opportunity or challenge, you take it out of the box and unwrap it. In practical terms, that means forgetting for a moment about your own organization’s structure and agenda. It means thinking about all the organizations, agendas and individuals with a stake in that opportunity or challenge. With whom must you work to accelerate progress, or making any progress at all?
and skills for
Bridge it. How do I credibly propose working together across silos and boundaries? Normally, we’re organization centric, and my-agenda and role-focused. Crossing silos and boundaries requires a credible pitch: why we should work together (even though we’re normally competitors, or ideologically opposed, or oil and water for whichever of a score of other reasons).
Sell it. Those who venture across silos and boundaries must return to their host organizations (department, business, community, non-profit, government, school, university) and explain how what their proposed collaboration is worth the effort, including opportunity costs.
Envision it. This is how we get from point A to point B despite all the natural hurdles and our respective agendas (two or more). There must be a pathway to a reasonable outcome, a result that’s worth all the real and opportunity costs to be incurred. And there need to be interim successes: short-term pay-offs that help create momentum.
Stow it. Ego, that is. No one starts a collaboration without ego because you need it to build a new mold, to step across lines, to sell a new idea. Almost by definition, no one succeeds at collaboration if they lead with their ego. Collaboration is a delicate balancing of personal and institutional interests, a blending of strengths.
Try it. Before adoption, we explore and test drive. That’s an essential forerunner to change and adoption.
Buy it. Decisions to “buy” are fraught. In collaborations the individual and institutional decision biases are multiplied. But so are the resources to balance out the biases, if we’re open enough to use those resources.
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