We are getting close to the half-way point of Term 1 and if you are like me, you’d be scratching your head, wondering where the time has gone. You could say that ‘time flies when you’re having fun’, but somehow, I don’t think that’s the perfect justification. It’s more like ‘I’ve got so much to do and then I have to teach’. I have been talking through this problem with a Leadership Team over the last few weeks and although we couldn’t find the ideal solution to being time-poor, we were able to identify a friction point that was at least absorbing their time.
It was their focus on collaboration.
The realisation wasn’t that they didn’t value collaboration; it was quite the opposite. The problem was how they were going about it.
For this team, they were relentless in their intention to be collaborative and inclusive with their approach. They were acutely aware of the benefits of working together towards a common purpose and the benefits of empowering others to ‘buy in’ to the intended goal. They worked hard to ensure that everyone had a voice.
Despite all their hard work, there was limited progress. They were taking teamwork too far and that precious 60 minutes a week of meeting time was being talked away in an attempt to provide everyone with a voice. Procrastination, over-talking and avoidance of action were some of the behaviours being displayed.
Unfortunately, the rewards weren’t balancing the investment. If we were to be really honest, we called it collaboration, but at best it was participation with a little bit of co-operation happening. Frustration was growing throughout the team.
What I loved about this challenge and why I share this story (with the team’s permission) is that they turned it around…and quickly. There was no blame attached and they didn’t persevere with practice that wasn’t serving them.
Does any of this sound familiar? If so, here are my top 3 tips for negating time-consuming collaboration.
- Relationships, relationships, relationships – It’s no surprise that this was the standout. Healthy, respectful relationships will allow safe conversations to take place. No blame, no shame, just people doing their best for each other.
- Everyone has an opinion – It’s nice that everyone has a say, but there comes a time when someone needs to make a decision. Just ensure that you have goal, role and process clarity. You can’t please everyone.
- Success is produced by and belongs to everyone. Likewise, failures or shortfalls also belong to everyone. A great team owns both of them.
As Patrick Lencioni stated, “It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage, both because it is so powerful and so rare”.
Make sure your team that gets the advantage.