October 21, 2005

Lets work together

The best things come from people working together. I could stop there but I'll inflict some more. Just been listening to 'The Who' (could have been any great band) and wondered whether a track like My Generation would have been possible without a hugely inspirational collaborative effort. Every member of that particular band was/is extremely talented but the performance was from them all even if some wrote and some fronted more.

Where is this going?

Well, Johnnie commented on collaboration and an article by Steven Coats: The Conundrum of Collaboration

Many organizations are not built around a model that fosters collaboration. The people they recruit and hire are selected based on previous accomplishments, as well as attributes such as self-drive, competitive spirit, and ambition to get ahead. There may not be much discussion about or investigation into the candidate's collaboration history and capabilities.

So business culture, certainly in the west, focuses on an intrinsic notion of self-promotion not team work or more importantly collaboration. Yet most work in organisations is based on these very notions. Strange when you think about it! Do we have some kind of adversity to trusting people who naturally collaborate? Do we somehow consider it a weakness compared to individuality? I think maybe we do.

If you 'have' to rely on others then you're not management material and yet in order to succeed in management then you have to rely on others.

So the best creation has got to come from teams working collaboratively. But to change western notions of individuality is difficult to say the least. The idea of team though can be strong and maybe turning the focus towards that collaborative entity is a way of shifting focus.

My favourite little exercise to ask how many uses for a paperclip can you come up with individually and then compare the answers to those fully from the group.

The drawing exercise Johnnie uses is also very powerful, as are some stories I've heard tell in lessons learnt meetings regarding problem identification.

Its also more fundamental than that though. If we continue along an individualistic route we continue to waste resources and opportunities.

To quote The Who - "Change it has to come, we knew it all along" and perhaps 'We won't get fooled again'?

Posted by Paul Goodison at October 21, 2005 03:20 PM | TrackBack

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