Why Collaboration Fails and What To Do About It

According to Wikipedia collaboration is the process of two or more people or organizations working together to complete a task or achieve a goal. It’s aim is to increase the success of the team by finding creative ways to solve problems and eliminate potential road blocks. A good idea becomes a better idea when we allow everyone on the team to be involved in the decision making process. Collaboration fails when we fail to allow others to have input. Collaboration fails because we throw people together , call them a team, and expect them to perform like one.

Worth Remembering … “It is not the individual but the team that is the instrument of sustained and enduring success in management.” – Anthony Jay

Like all good teams, it starts at the selection process. Some people already posses the interpersonal skills to be effective team players. When hiring team members, in addition to their technical skills required to fill the position, ensure that you hire people who like working with people. Soft-skills, the ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others, are more important then technical ability.

A recipe for building collaborative teams

  • There are a number of ways to accomplish the same thing. It doesn’t have to be just your way. Solicit everyone’s input and decide on the best plan of action regardless of who came up with the idea.
  • Resist the urge to micro-manage. Let everyone of the team know what needs to be done and then get out of their way and let them do it.
  • Let them know how their part contributes to the success of the whole. If the team wins – everyone wins. If one person on the team fails – the team fails.
  • Hold everyone accountable for the results. I mean everyone – including you.
  • Keep lines of communication open. Let everyone know how things are going – good or bad.
  • Be fair and consistent. Rules are for everyone – including you and your super stars.
  • Consider rotating positions so everyone on the team knows how to do everyone’s job. Cross-training can increase productivity, reduce boredom and eliminate turn over.

Worth Remembering … “Teams are now the primary force of organizations. They are worth cultivating at their core. Their core is the mind of each team member. ” – Nancy Kline

Be sure to monitor individual performance so that “social loafers” won’t go about un-detected. Tune into the unofficial grapevine so you know what’s really going on. Be aware of group think and make sure everyone on the team has an opportunity to express their opinion. Together everyone does achieve more. Teams create a synergy that results in a level of performance far greater then it’s individual parts.

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com

Throw Out Your Business Plan and Pivot

If this current pandemic has taught us anything at all, it’s that putting together a 3 to 5 year business plan is a total waste of time, energy and money. If this current pandemic has taught us anything at all, it is that our crystal ball is a little murky and it’s impossible to predict the future. Burying your head in the sand and waiting for it to be over is not the answer. What this current pandemic has taught us is that those who learn to pivot have a better chance of having a future.

Worth Remembering … “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln

Restaurants expanded their patio to provide outdoor dining and encouraged customers to order online for curbside pickup or have it delivered to their door. They reduced their indoor dining area to create a safer environment for their customers and their staff.

Manufacturing companies retooled to produce and sell personal protective equipment. Distilleries used their expertise in making spirits to make sanitizer. Clothing manufactures switched over to making masks and garments.

Small businesses have had to change their flow patterns to help their customers social distance and they put up plexiglass barriers to protect their staff. Administrative and sales people started working from home and connecting online.

Worth Remembering … “A pivot is a change in strategy without a change in vision.” – Eric Ries

What this current pandemic has taught us is that the future, although not ideal, can be brighter if we learn to look for the possibilities. A basketball player learns to pivot, not to give up on their chance of scoring a basket, but to change direction and give themselves a clearer path to reach their goal. Conditions have changed. Throw out your business plan and pivot.

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com

Trust is a Two-Way Street

Sometimes you need others to take a leap of faith. Without establishing trust, you’ll have little chance of getting people to come along. If they trust you , they will follow you. If they trust you, they’ll believe that you have their best interest in mind. If they trust you, they’ll know that you aren’t setting them up to fail. Just because you’ve been given a title doesn’t automatically mean they will trust you. Managers and leaders need to earn their trust.

Are you looking to establish trust? Start here

Keep Your Word. Your word is your bond. What ever you say you’re going to do – do it. If they can’t trust what you say – they won’t trust you at all.

Be Honest and Transparent. Tell them the truth – always. If they catch you in a lie – you’ll never regain their trust.

Admit You Don’t Have all the Answers. It’s ok if you don’t have all the answers. However, you need to know who and where to go to to get them.

Communicate Often. Let them know how they are doing – good or bad. It’s important to keep them in the loop. You can’t communicate too much.

Admit When You’ve Made a Mistake. We all make mistakes. Take ownership, learn from them, apologize, and move on.

Resist The Urge to Micro-Manage. A leader’s roll is to teach them what they need to know and then get out of their way and let them do it.

Be True to Your Own Set of Values. Don’t compromize your own set of values. Be true to who you are. Integrity is more than just a word.

Walter Wriston, the former Chairman and CEO of Citicorp, understood that in organizations where people trust and believe in each other, they don’t need to get into regulating and coercing behaviours. They don’t need a policy for every mistake. People in these trusting environments respond with enormous commitment and creativity. Walter Wriston understood that trust is a two-way street.

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com.

Stop Trying to Change People

Everybody is good at something. Some people are good planners while others are better at executing those plans. Not everyone can sing a song well but they can play an instrument. We’ve listened to great communicators and some who have a difficult time being understood. It’s rare to find someone who is good at everything.

Worth Remembering … “Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you will begin to understand what little chance you have in trying to change others ” Unknown

You can’t take the stripes off a tiger or rub the spots off a leopard no matter how hard you try. Stop trying to change people. You can’t. You would have more luck trying to herd cats. Trust me it’s darn near impossible. Spend your time putting people in positions where they can do what they do well.

Worth Remembering … “The task of an executive is not to change human beings. The task is to multiply performance capacity of the whole by putting to use whatever strength, whatever health, whatever aspiration there is in individuals.” – Peter F. Drucker

Great leaders do what they do well and surround themselves with the best people they can find who do somethings better then they do. Great leaders understand that success comes from everyone on the team doing what they do well. Play to their strengths and stop trying to change people?

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com