For our prehistoric forebears, survival was a team sport. How can we know this? Just look around at your motley crew of friends and colleagues. A potpourri of personalities, strengths, vulnerabilities and ways of thinking. Why would such motley crews persist if there wasn’t some advantage?
Successful teams and collaborations discover that different approaches and perspectives add strength, but the payoff from diversity often involves messy, one-step-at-a-time plodding. That helps explain skepticism about collaboration, teams and even brainstorming.
- The right stuff? Matching task with the right mix of people is treacherous work. Which skills, experiences, perspectives, working and thinking styles, and personalities will be suited to the task, and to working as a team or collaboration? Think about the lousy record of executive headhunters who try to fill just one position with the right stuff at the right time.
with the right
mix of people is
The right motivation? We need good reasons to overcome the three challenges that usually scuttle well-intended efforts at teamwork and collaboration:
- Enough patience? The easy part of most tasks is figuring out what needs to be done. The harder part is getting all the moving parts moving in right direction long enough to achieve the objective. While it might offend our sensibilities, our technologies have leaped ahead, while our brainworks today are not far removed from those of our cave-dwelling ancestors. It takes us considerable time to adopt new alliances, agendas and behaviors.
- Accepting the need for change? Our daily lives – work and personal – unfold according to well-worn scripts. To change those scripts doesn’t just involve us – those directly involved in a team or collaboration. We’ve got to bring that change home and convince peers who are busily following the well-worn scripts.
- Can we bring it home? Our organizations and communities are set up to pursue those well-worn scripts. The purpose of teams and collaborations is to change scripts. When we bring home new scripts, usually there is no spare time, no spare resource, and even no decision-making process to quickly get on the same new page.
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