Friday, April 25, 2008

Anecdote on Collaboration

Anecdote has just released a new white paper titled Creating a Collaborative Workplace that explores the nature and value of collaboration from a practical perspective.

I find it a very nice piece of writing. It's jargon free enough to use as a tool to align goals and actions across the spectrum of KM partners (HR, IT, IM, strategic planning, facilities etc.).
I like the definition and contexts they've laid out for collaboration, the "cause" for collaboration, and the focus on culture - implying that how things are done are as important as what things are done.

It might be interesting to supplement the ideas in the paper by moving into an exploration of what collaboration is not - or if you're inclusionary, the full spectrum of collaborative processes and practices. Why I'm saying this is that for many people collaboration is synonymous with coordination, cooperation, co/joint creation, debate, co-evolution, and a variety of other interaction processes. I do hate to get overly definitional, but I do believe that for people to work together they need to share some common language, and an understanding and agreement about the process to get things done. This type of agreement can provide a framework to evaluate individual and group performance, and mitigate situations where "buddy" trumpets his collaborativeness, while all he does is criticize others' ideas and contributes none of his own.

I'm reading Albrecht's book The Power of Minds at Work, and he maps out 10 learnable macro-skills related to what he calls 'practical intelligence':- mental flexibility, or "tolerance for ambiguity"- openness to new information- capacity for systematic thought- capacity for abstract through- skill at generating ideas- positive thinking- sense of humour- intellectual courage- resistance to enculturation- emotional resilience or "emotional intelligence"

This reads to me like a list of collaborative skills, which could be a good idea supplement as well.

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