Blog Article Collection

Are You Risking Collaboration Insanity?

Added on: 22-Nov-16 12:00am



Author: John Dengate

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein


We have probably all heard this quote by now, and I was reflecting on it while reading a press release about "advanced collaboration" between business leaders across the Tasman recently.


While I was excited at the prospect of improved results, I was also a little let down by the lack of any indication about how such 'collaboration' was to happen, and what would be different to the business as usual behaviour (BAU) that we have come to expect from our business leaders, politicians, or social activists.


In our practice, we constantly find that useful collaboration is quite different to what people are used to (i.e. BAU), and for a collaboration to be effective, collaborators actually have to think and act differently. Some of that different behaviour we experience includes:

  • asking for help, not selling a solution
  • seeking diversity, not consolidating sameness
  • stimulating divergent thinking, before seeking agreement
  • being respectfully curious about another's position, rather than using 'facts' to disprove it
  • seeking inclusion, rather than generating exclusivity
  • building in flexibility, rather than defining the pathway
  • tolerating a degree of uncertainty, and allowing solutions to emerge together

So, I think we have an obligation to test a little more each time we hear the rhetoric, and deepen the understanding of what actually is intended with the promise of working collaboratively.


It will help all of us if together we can look for the indications of how people are thinking and acting, and the likely consequences in tackling the complex business, environmental, political and societal issues facing us now.


Let's critically examine the claims of 'collaboration' rather than benignly accepting that because we say we collaborate, then we actually do.


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