These examples have been called “fauxcollaboration.” This is a type of communication praised as collaboration. The problem is that instead of encouraging conversations between various stakeholders, it only creates frustration. It is a cloudy illusion of collaboration.
In order to achieve real collaboration, collaborators must work on a common problem. Everyone must have a personal interest in solving the problem. If you want a reminder on creating a culture of true collaboration in your organization, here it is.
Choose participants wisely.
If you want your team members to truly collaborate, be intentional about whom you bring together for meetings. Be certain that every participant is clear about their role and responsibilities.
Inform your collaborators why you chose them.
Doing this helps guide your team members with clarity on why they are participating in the meeting. They may not immediately understand why you have called them in to share ideas, so remind them why they are essential to the success of the project or deal. That is why they are there.
Outline key objectives.
You do not want to leave anyone guessing. Be specific about who is on your team and what communication they will receive regarding the progress and success of the project.
When you have your team of collaborators together, jump in with ideas. Do not overthink it or assign any constraints. Welcome all kinds of concepts. Try using a prioritization matrix once you have all the ideas listed. Use the Y-axis for impact and the X-axis for the likelihood of success.
Remember that it is okay to agree to disagree.
When people come together to collaborate, not everyone will agree on every topic–and that is okay. It is up to you as the leader to make the call on which options to pursue. The priority is that your team members commit to collaborating rather than agreeing on every point.
Continually check in on progress.
When you decide on a project direction or initiative, take steps to keep it going. Make sure to schedule a time to check in on how the project is progressing so you can adjust as needed.
Many teams are under the false impression that they are collaborating simply because they get everyone together. True collaboration takes the right team design, structure, and principles. The next time you need fresh ideas and insight do not just send an email to the whole team and wait for replies. Strategically choose a team and let them know why you are bringing them together. Then, open the floor and let the ideas flow. You might be surprised at the results you get when you replace “fauxcollaboration” with the real deal. And this will help you thrive.
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