Sometimes we need a ‘jolt’ to keep us moving on the collaboration expedition we’ve undertaken…

Here’s an idea:

Collaboration calls on us to do so, even in the face of those who are behaving exactly the opposite of collaborative. This is called ‘extraordinary collaboration’.

How do you practice extraordinary collaboration?

1. It’s important to note that folks could misinterpret extraordinary collaboration as using ‘all carrot and no stick’. Not true.

2. You probably don’t have the relationship with this person you think you have. Take some time to assess this. For example, do you know what the biggest accomplishment of this person was last year personally? Professionally? I asked these questions of someone this past week who I’d asked for help previously and had not received it. What it told me was I didn’t have the relationship I thought I had with them. We went to lunch and talked. He told me about marriage issues he and his wife had over come and about the wild story of landing the biggest project in company history this past year. Our relationship grew closer, because of that lunch to where I thought it was…

3. Now, assuming you’ve taken time to understand this person (I use a talents feedback tool for individuals and a relationship placemat for teams) and you have ground rules in-place (I use a ground rules/rules of engagement tool), you either help them acquire a collaborative skill or a behavior to reach the standard expected or there are consequences.

An example from this past week was a client who has a very tight labor situation feeling he was being held hostage by team members with no interest in collaboration. It’s a question of a lack of skill or a behavior that needs to be acquired and measured over a specific period of time.

How do you measure? Ask the question – is this person’s behavior leading the organization closer to it’s reason for existing or further away?

If the improvement expected doesn’t happen – in other words, the standard is not reached, then there are consequences. There’s no second guessing.

An example of a skill is acquiring ‘big picture thinking’. An example of a behavior is learning to use the ‘brake pedal on pride and the gas pedal on humility’.

I know there are many that will second guess me on this blog post and say ‘they don’t have time for this or I’m over-simplifying things’ and my reply is ‘yes you do and yes I am’. Extraordinary collaboration comes down to relationship and consistently following your plan of rewarding the behavior you want and following-through on consequences when called upon.

This is ‘big picture thinking’.


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