Collaboration and LOs LO26264

Date: 03/02/01

Responding to: Collaboration and LOs LO26212

I want to take a moment to respond to Peg Stuart on the subject of the
purpose of collaboration.

She said:

>Some seem to think that the purpose of
>collaboration to gather input, others to make a
>decision as to a course
>action, and others believe the purpose is contextual.

>Collaboration is said to mean, " ... to work together
>towards a common
>goal," which says to me that collaboration is much
>more than meetings,
>retreats, etc. However, there seems to be little
>indication from this
>definition as to how the act of collaboration impacts

I have had to opportunity to work with and to observe a number of
collaborations. You may recall my all-too-brief observation on the
subject of empowerment--I stated that empowerment involves
information-sharing. Basicall, one of the main reasons you would want to
empower individuals is to make them better collaborators.

Individually, we are limited. But when you put a group of people together
who are different from each other, and they know how to collaborate, then
synergy occurs. The product of the group will be something that no
individual group member would be capable of producing alone. I have seen
this happen over and over again. It often seems to me that groups that
have learned how to collaborate successfully are very powerful indeed.

Again, based upon my experience, determinants of success are based in
large part on how things are done upfront. The more indepth the
teambuilding (getting to know you, building intimacy and shared trust) and
training (including making sure everyone in the group is properly
oriented), the greater the group's ability to leverage its knowledge and
power. It is absolutely crucial to get everyone on the same page, and
that takes some time. I have seen a lot of groups rush through this
upfront process and end in confusion and disagreement.

Here's hoping this is helpful, and provides at least some insight as to
how to go about collaborating.

Genene Koebelin, MS
Adult and Organizational Learning


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