Collaboration Zone

What is a Collaboration Zone?

Collaboration is all the rage these days.  Collaboration Zones are springing up all over:

  • AT&T has designated places where people gather as Collaboration Zones.
  • Some universities have called online portals collaboration zones
  • I cannot count how often I’ve been told about the collaboration a team can get up to on Good Docs.

And these are all good things.  They just aren’t collaboration.

I define collaboration as allowing another’s reality to affect yours, to change your ideas about something.  When collaboration is firing between two people or amongst a group, there is no space between them.  A thought sparks another thought, one after another, and ideas flow, we complete each other’s sentences, or stand and scratch our heads and the light slowly dawns.  Rank, status, privilege and -isms disappear.  Collaboration is play, creative flow, and it can feel like magic.  It can melt barriers and make longstanding differences irrelevant.

So what is the problem?

Collaboration is skittish and elusive.  It won’t show up unless the conditions are right.  Collaboration takes discipline (and discipline is  remembering what you want – what you really want, not what you’ll settle for).  It also takes skill, humility, patience and a feel for timing, which may be why I see so much faux-llaboration.  But it is so worth the effort.

I teach people how to develop that feel, how to create the structure that collaboration prefers and how to invite others in the collaboration zone.  Because the collaboration zone is co-created on the spot, every time.  Once you learn how, you can do it anywhere, any time, with anyone.  The individuals, pairs and groups I coach are:

  • Known for changing mundane conversations and meetings into collaborations that change outcomes.
  • Seen as valuable players who tell the truth without ruffling feathers.
  • Experiencing the satisfaction and joy that come from making a real difference, well beyond their job description.

You don’t have to have “leader” in your title to benefit from what I offer There are many ways to lead from the side:

  • You may be in a staff position with a title like “Consultant,” or “Associate.”
  • You may oversee several groups who don’t see eye-to-eye but need to collaborate.
  • You may sense that meetings you lead or attend could be more lively and engaged, but fear losing control (leaders) or blame (everyone else) if you invite more participation.
  • You may be a leader constantly pulled one way by your direct reports and another by your boss, Board of Directors or shareholders, or vice-versa.

Working in the collaboration zone will help you make the difference you’ve been longing for.  And you don’t have to give up your integrity or sell your soul.  You don’t have the make the false choice between “me” and “we.” You don’t have to play games or politics.  You don’t have to wait until your organization is “optimal”  or you are “perfect” or “ready.”  You’re ready now.  You’ll “need some training up,” of course:  Being yourself at work takes skill.  If you’re curious about why that is, you might enjoy spending 2 minutes reading this.

Meanwhile, jump in and send me what questions, comments or requests you have.

Start with something free

Like my almost monthly tips newsletter, Collaboration Genius.  You can sign up for in the upper right-hand corner.  I will not pester you, and it will take no more than 3 minutes a week to read.

Not ready to sign up?  That’s OK.  Take a look around my blog.  That’s where I post past issues of Collaboration Genius as well as other posts the “how to” of collaboration.  I’ve also got several short case studies that highlight work I’ve done for past clients.  Or you can get in touch for a free 30-minute consultation.