THE COLLABORATION BLIND SPOT: WHY TRYING TO MAKE PEOPLE COLLABORATE FREAKS THEM OUT

@Harvard Business Review by Lisa B. Kwan
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COLLABORATION CAN BE THREATENING (EXCERPT)

“Here’s the problem: In mandating and planning for collaborative initiatives, leaders tend to focus on logistics and processes, incentives and outcomes. That makes perfect sense. But in doing so they forget to consider how the groups they’re asking to work together might experience the request—especially when those groups are being told to break down walls, divulge information, sacrifice autonomy, share resources, or even cede responsibilities that define them as a group. All too often, groups feel threatened by such demands, which seem to represent openings for others to encroach on their territory…

… Nagged by concerns about their security, groups that have been asked to collaborate often retreat into themselves and reflexively assume a defensive posture. Their top priorities: Guard the territory, minimize the threat.

This kind of behavior can have consequences that extend beyond the collaboration at hand. A group focused on protecting its turf and minimizing threats can come across as uncooperative and a poor team player. Word gets around that it “can’t be trusted” or is “two-faced”—assessments that can harm future efforts to collaborate before they begin.”



CHECK YOUR BLIND SPOTS!

This executive leadership coach at Harvard Business School can’t be more right – companies tend to overlook their blind spots, and when silos focus on protecting themselves rather than working with others, collaborative endeavors have no chance in succeeding. We at Ignite are dedicated to promoting cross-silo collaboration because like Kwan, we understand the hindrance silos have on the effectiveness and execution of collaborative efforts. Our Collaboration Growth Stream strives to break down the silo mentality in all of its aspects so that everyone across all silos are comfortable participating in engaging collaboration. When teams don’t feel threatened, and are able to incorporate their strengths and needs with that of other teams, collaboration can be a beautiful and profitable endeavor.