Collaboration is one of those overused, misunderstood buzzwords. But collaboration put to practice the right way can jumpstart any business to greater innovation, improved efficiencies and higher morale among the troops. How do we do it and do it well? We think meeting as a team (like we did yesterday) to discuss the following three articles and video is a step in the right direction:
Getting Collaboration Right: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/05/getting_collaboration_right.html
The gist: Under-collaboration and over-collaboration "are equally perilous." The right way is "disciplined collaboration that requires managers spot and tear down behavioral barriers to team work and set up the organization correctly by aligning incentives and promoting accountability." Mini company examples included.
Six Common Misperceptions about Teamwork: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/06/six_common_misperceptions_abou.html
The gist: Conflict, small teams with the ability to work face-to-face and hands-on leaders fostering collaboration and providing resources and support to succeed is the better way.
Collaboration is Risky. Now get on with it: http://blogs.hbr.org/johnson/2011/06/collaboration-is-risky-now-get.html
The gist: The "fundamental barrier to collaboration is a lack of trust" so how do you build it — little by little. Start off with one-off transactions, remember your collaborators are competent, don’t take advantage of a collaborator's deficiencies and give others their due. "When we're willing to do the work of finding collaborators with whom we can entrust both our expertise, and lack thereof, we can create something much grander than we could have on our own — the reward will be more than worth the risk."
And listen to Pixar's Randy Nelson on the Collaborative Age: http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2010/08/tips-for-creative-success-from-pixar-studios-.html that recommends accepting every offering and learning to make your partner look good ("to plus") as a means to build trust, team and therefore great work.