Jeff Lugerner asked:
Each and every day managers and leaders are told, directed and implored to collaborate with their peers, cross functional peers, internal customers, cross functional organizations, and just about every one under the corporate roof! It is an old mantra, it is a new mantra and it wonâ€™t go away. Being able to cross functionally collaborate seems to have become the make or break skill set for peopleâ€™s careers in this new millennium.
Then why are most people not very good at it and need to be told time and time again that they have to master this skill to be successful?
Our notion is that collaboration for many of us is an un-natural act that involves among other things, listening more, going slower, putting aside self-interest to some degree and trusting other peopleâ€™s intentions. Now thatâ€™s a tall task. None of us really like the aforementioned behaviors that are the antithesis to our â€œIâ€™m in a hurry and hereâ€™s what my organization needs to be successfulâ€ world we live and work in.
Collaboration requires us to wear many different â€œhatsâ€ none of which are called â€œdriverâ€— although being a driver comes in handy once youâ€™ve done all the pre-work. The pre-work involves wearing the hats of facilitator, business partner and influencer, meeting after meeting moving the process forward and taking almost everybody with you on this journey.
We have identified below the roles a good collaborator must play in order to have any chance of being successful. Keep in mind that while there is a general progression from facilitator to business partner to influencer this is not intended to be done in a strictly linear fashion. Different meetings, people and circumstances require the good collaborator to be agile and pick the right behaviors and the right time. The mistake most people make is they jump right into selling and telling and rarely if ever utilize the â€œfacilitatorâ€, â€œbusiness partnerâ€ or â€œinfluencerâ€ behaviors. The effect this has on people is that they feel like they are being sold to and closed on.
As you go through this list, challenge yourself with these questions:
1. Do I demonstrate any of these collaboration behaviors on a consistent basis?
2. Which of the 3 collaboration roles identified could I utilize more effectively in a meeting that I currently lead or attend?
3. In what relationships could I implement more of these behaviors as a way of bringing about more collaboration?
Stage #1 â€“ Facilitator
+ Generates sharing of ideas
+Facilitates the sharing of information
+Acts as a clarifier of communications
+Checks for understanding
+Proactively invites people to contribute/participate
+Identifies what parties have in common and where they may differ
+Creates a sense of safety in the room/meeting
+ Listens to learn others point of view
Mind-Set â€“ Setting the table for mutual respect, trusting each otherâ€™s intentions and a level playing field.
Stage #2- Business Partner
+Models putting self in other peopleâ€™s shoes
+Goes out of his way to understand his business partnerâ€™s needs and interests
+Does not dismiss or diminish his business partnerâ€™s needs or desired outcome
+Uses â€œpartner languageâ€ â€œwe, together, partners, etc.â€
+Demonstrates a willingness to make all parties successful
+Begins to facilitate and generate â€œboth gainâ€ solutionsâ€
Mind- Set â€“ Investing in each otherâ€™s success.
+Insures that all data and information has been shared
+Calls for interpretation of data presented
+â€Calls outâ€ selling and telling behavior
+Pushes group to generate â€œboth gainâ€ solutions
+Calls on content experts to influence possible decisions
+Calls on â€œgroup know-howâ€ to come up with a solution in the best interest of the company
+Generates lessons learned from previous projects
+Blocks any attempts at dismissing perspectives, continuous convincing or pointing out why others are wrong
Mind-Set â€“ Drive the team towards a â€œboth gainâ€ solution and maintain a partner attitude without adversarial relationships forming.
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