Is Collaboration Overrated?


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Finding creative ways to work together, as an entrepreneur, with others, who does not like that?

And it’s no secret that teams often produce better outcomes than individuals working alone. Even working with people who have a different marketing strategy or product presentation can be a chance.

In fact, creative meetings offer a wonderful opportunity to reinforce the desired culture of the own company, set the tone for new paths , celebrate victories, encourage passion, share best practices, improve selling skills and help team members feel part of something bigger than themselves!

However our technology, our time management, and our busyness in life, prevents us from real success. But that is not everything. In 2006, Inc contributor David H. Freedman warned:
Collaboration is the hottest buzzword in business today. Too bad it doesn’t work.

“…if it weren’t for just one little problem: The effectiveness of groups, teamwork, collaboration, and consensus is largely a myth. In many cases, individuals do much better on their own. Our bias toward groups is counterproductive. And the technology of ubiquitous connectedness is making the problem worse.”

He “raised an eyebrow” at the prospect of a significant amount of people “making valuable contacts” via social networking sites.

A team of MIT Media Lab researchers explained in a new study (2014):

“Complex problem solving in science, engineering, and business has become a highly collaborative endeavor. Teams of scientists and engineers collaborate on projects using their social networks to gather new ideas and feedback.”

My statement:
Working together does not always lead to better results. It can be a good motivator and can be good for brainstorming. But we are often mislead by sharing information with others and having interesting conversations. We expect too much from each other. And we are disappointed, when the other expert does not meet our expectations, follows another strategy, or shows too much control over the discussion.

When two people are active in the own orientation, try to follow a learned or experienced routine, have a clear structured marketing or success plan, and are very open and willing to learn from each other, that does not necessarily mean more success.

Conflict will inevitably arise. How do you deal with it? By empowering yourself as proactive leader and by repeatedly returning to your team’s shared goals and vision.

Heavy focus should be placed on maintaining an environment of collegiality, where outlying ideas are embraced, not cast aside.

“True collaboration” should be distinguished from mere teamwork. True collaboration isn’t just about marching in the same direction with a shared goal; it moves the goal posts. You can be on an assembly line and demonstrate effective teamwork without ever really collaborating.

“Collaboration allows us as individuals to understand something we didn’t have the background knowledge to grasp before”

– Art Fry, the inventor of Post-It Notes

What is clear:

  • Collaboration shouldn’t mean more meetings.
  • And with collaboration can arise dissent.
  • Each person has different perspectives in life. “Collaboration is not a democracy.” – Caldecott
  • Effective collaboration is reached through a change in our behavior.
  • And good behavior generates trust.

Stop using your meeting as a chance for spreading your success stories!

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