Collaboration is Giving the Right Attention (3)

Collaboration is an art. In the third installment, we continue to discuss how to practice it. This can be through community building, the environment of teams, and different external tools.

4.4.2 Community Building

Peter Block has designed 6 conversations that help build a community.

  1. Invitation conversation: Transformation occurs through choice. In other words, the invitation is the call to create a different future. So we can ask ourselves; “what is the invitation we can make to support people to participate?”
  2. Possibility conversation: This focuses on what we want our future to be. As opposed to problem-solving in the past. It frees people to innovate. And challenge the status quo. They can also break new ground and create new futures that make a difference.
  3. Ownership conversation: This conversation focuses on whose organization or task is this? It asks: How have I contributed to creating current reality? Confusion, blame, and waiting for someone else to change are a defense against ownership and personal power.
  4. Dissent conversation: This gives people the space to say no. If you can’t say no, your yes has no meaning. Therefore, give people a chance to express their doubts and reservations. Moreover, this is a way of clarifying their roles, needs, and yearnings within the vision and mission. Certainly, genuine commitment begins with doubt. And no is an expression of people finding their space and role in the strategy.
  5. Commitment conversation: This conversation is about making promises to peers. Which includes your contribution to success. It asks: What promise am I willing to make to this enterprise? And, what price am I willing to pay for success? To clarify, it is a promise for the sake of a larger purpose. It is not for a personal return.
  6. Gifts conversation: It is better to focus on the gifts and assets we bring and capitalize on. As a result, make the best and highest contribution. Above all, Confront people with their core gifts that can make a difference and change lives.

4.4.3 Thinking environment

Nancy Kline, author of time to think, says the best thinking takes place in the presence of exquisite attention. Most importantly, what we pay attention to grows. If we want to generate a collaborative environment, we need to pay attention to these 10 components of a thinking environment.

  1. Attention: Attention is an act of creation. When we give attention and thought to something, it comes alive.
  2. Equality: In a hierarchy, people can be equal as thinkers.
  3. Ease: Ease creates. And urgency destroys.
  4. Appreciation: The human mind works best in the presence of appreciation
  5. Encouragement: To be ‘better than’ is not necessarily to be good!
  6. Feelings: Unexpressed feelings hinder thinking.
  7. Information: Accurate information results in intellectual honour. In addition, recognising our collective social environment brings psychological safety. Therefore, it is better to face what we have been denying. After that, it leads to better thinking
  8. Difference: More diversity means that there are different points of view. Consequently, the greater the chance of cutting-edge thinking.
  9. Incisive Questions: A source of good ideas lie beneath an untrue limiting assumption. Therefore, we need to use incisive questions to remove it. As a result, freeing the mind to think afresh.
  10. Place: We think more clearly and boldly when the physical environment affirms our importance. When our bodies are cared for and respected, our thinking improves.

4.4.4 World Café

The World Café is a simple, brilliant process that enables large groups of people to build collective knowledge. This could be about the issues that are important to them. It is an innovative social technology that embodies the principles and practices of a new type of collective conversation. In addition, it can access the collective wisdom of diverse communities. This process is useful for large-scale collaboration. The process is intended to create a coffee shop set up. Where people “go for coffee” and talk through something they are dealing with. They get to visit different tables and make contributions to each. Lastly, they get to listen to multiple perspectives and contribute to conversations emerging at the different tables.

4.5 Online Collaboration tools

The global pandemic has necessitated the use of online collaboration tools. There are many tools available. We will look at those most commonly used.

4.5.1 Google

Start by learning how to leverage the tools we have (Google docs, Microsoft Teams) to create and run online workshops.

4.5.2 Mentimeter

This a tool that helps engage your team in a visually dynamic way. It creates word clouds and helps you take polls. It can aggregate information to post-interaction. Furthermore, it makes information transparent. Likewise, there are tools like Slido and Snapvote who do the same. Mentimeter has a free option with limited functionality.

5 Questionnaire

Collaboration is not new. So, we may be interested in knowing how we are doing as a collaborator. In addition, which areas we could take up a notch. Here are questionnaires to help you decide on the area you would like to hone.

How am I doing as a collaborator?

How good am I at creating a thinking environment?

6 Next Steps

Which of these areas would you like to explore some more?

We can co-create the solution that will support your collaboration capability needs.

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