July 25, 2007

Collaboration is Hard, Part I

Collaboration is Hard, Part I Every year when we do 360 reviews, a whole bunch of people at all levels in the organization have “collaboration” identified as a development item.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic lately and will do a two-part post on this.  So, first things first…what is collaboration and why is it so important? Let’s start with the definition of collaboration from our friends at Wikipedia: Collaboration is a process defined by the recursive interaction of knowledge and mutual learning between two or more people who are working together, in an intellectual endeavor, toward a common goal which is typically creative in nature. Collaboration does not necessarily require leadership and can even bring better results through decentralization and egalitarianism. What does that mean in a business setting?  It means partnering with a colleague (either inside or outside of the company) on a project, and through the partnering, sharing knowledge that produces a better outcome than either party could produce on his or her own.  Interestingly, the last sentence of the definition implies that collaboration can happen across levels in an organization but is generally more effective when the parties who are collaborating are on somewhat […]