Collaboration is at the foundation of modern business, but is not as easy as it looks.
Embedded behaviours, social rules and a number of psychological phenomena make collaborating a delicate balance between task and relationships. Below are a few we need to be mindful of:
1) The herd effect
As humans we naturally strive to fit in and in order to do that we tend to go along with what everyone seems to agree with.
Effective collaboration must challenge the norm to foster innovative thinking. Group think results in us missing critical opportunities and paves the way for competition to gain ground in our market.
2) The principle of diluted responsibility
Collaboration requires everyone’s involvement, yet the more people are involved the less likely it is for anyone to take responsibility.
To make sure progress occurs it is important to form small sub teams, define clear roles, and develop mutual accountability. Ultimately everyone must know what their job is and the implications when they do not deliver.
3) Turf wars and political dances
It is a natural instinct to defend and support the group we feel we belong to at all costs. ‘Us and them‘ philosophy spurs secrecy and uncertainty and in the long run causes commitment to break down.
High performing teams focus on consistently sharing relevant information to allow for clarity and commitment.
Building high performing teams requires courage, focus and vulnerability, do you have what it takes?
Fabio Grassi is programme director for the High Performance Teams programme, which enables managers to take a deep dive into the behavioural aspects of managing people to excel and to achieve high performance. He is a specialist in the development of team performance, collaboration and motivation.