I'm thinking about...
Our conventional understanding of collaboration is that it requires us all to be on the same team and headed in the same direction, to agree on what has to happen and make sure this happens, and to get people to do what needs to be done. In other words, we assume that collaboration can and must be under control. Conventional collaboration looks like a planning meeting.
In my research people named this type of “collaboration” as “false collaboration”. They saw it as a tick-box exercise that wasted their time and built only frustration.
In “real collaboration” (as named by my research participants) or “stretch collaboration” (as identified by Kahane) – we abandon the sense of control and begin to embrace the ‘messy’ nature of progress. We stop trying to reduce collaboration to a project management plan. We recognise that diversity of thought will lead to discussion and deliberation and sometimes disagreements. We acknowledge that sometimes it feels hard and regularly we are working out of our comfort zone.
As a facilitator, my focus is to convene and support a safe space where all the voices can be heard and solutions emerge together. In my experience, when we work in the spirit of respect and generosity, trust develops and more often than not everyone is at least ‘a little surprised’ at the outcome and it’s ‘a little bit’ special to be part of J
The picture below is by Pourya Sharifi from Unsplash – Iranian teacups with the traditional sugar lumps which we place in our mouth to sweeten the strong brew as we sip. I chose it because it represents to me where and how I learnt the value of taking time to discourse together and connect in a deep and meaningful way, without judgement, when as a child I watched my elders drink tea around the fire. And it reminds me of the importance of bringing my ‘whole self’ to this work, however scary that might feel on the day.
Here to serve and support you...
If you are working in a complex environment that necessitates input from a wide range of partners and stakeholders and need some support – I’m here to serve you. Whether you’re just setting up the partnership, or have been going for a while and need a reset or have reached a juncture where you need to reassess and reframe - get in touch and let’s book in a complimentary discovery conversation to explore options.
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