Latest blog: Listening: A key skill for collaboration
To writers, editors, and subject matter experts in organizations everywhere!
We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make choices wisely.
— E.O. Wilson, biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist, and author, in Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge
Most writing advice is aimed at the writer, alone and unarmed, who faces a blank page and who signs a name to the work. But as writers in organizations, we work with a ton of content considered ready to use. Our names do not appear on the documents we write.
In an organization, lots of people work on each document. Text is assembled. It’s reviewed and, sometimes, fails short. It’s reworked. Problems persist. No one knows why.
As deadlines approach, we fix up the text as best we can. We work faster and harder. We learn keyboard shortcuts and sign up for online communities. We join associations of writers and editors. We attend writing and editing workshops to gain skills for hastening the process. Skills are good to have, but do not solve every problem.
There’s a bigger context: collaboration
As writers and editors, we are among the first to know how the company’s products and services are being described. We can act like focus groups, since we often see parts of text that need work. Are we being heard by our organizations?
Seeing ourselves on a lonely quest to get the job done can be a losing proposition. You are not alone! Collaborative intelligence is one thing we can all use a lot more of.
What about success and satisfaction for writers?
Can we have a sense of achievement as writers when we produce documents that don’t bear our name or reflect the quality we think is important? Start with a look the 10 laws of collaborative writing, which remind us to define the purpose of our projects, or at least consider at what level we are contributing. We’ll explore success from there! (Hint: success has to do with the quality of your contribution and interaction.)
Please share your ideas and comments on collaboration here, or contact Christine Hastie.
I have been thinking of you a lot lately and be assured, it`s all good 🙂 I recently embarked on a new journey to continue to grow my own business. As part of this process I have been reflecting back on the past several years and what has happened to bring me to the point I am now at.
You, dear lady, have been such a very important and inspirational part of my journey! The wisdom, guidance, skill and generosity of spirit that you shared with me during our collaborative meetings has been so key to my development. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
It is wonderful to see the growing collection of thoughtful and interesting posts and resources here on your site. I look forward to following your work and wish you all the best on your very own journey!
Your fellow collaborator 🙂
Thanks so much. I loved working with you seeing your build on your dream. It has been amazing to see you gradually put the pieces in place and create such a successful organization, I’m a great fan of your products.
Now The Soap Company of Nova Scotia has an active community on Facebook, and we can order through your amazing website http://www.soapnovascotia.com. We loved the skin care cream.
Love your growing spirit, Leigh. Looking forward to sharing about many great successes.
My partner and I are working on a model for Strategic Group Motivation. We have learned that the leader can choose to motivate everyone in his group so they engage in the course, job, project. Its all about how the leader shows up and creates and controls. Our model includes a series of 7 states. The question for you approaches soon. Please stay tuned. In state no. 4 we can see, that everyone must have the will to help each other. So according to the task, what should they help each other with? That they have to find out through our new HELPING HANDS model. Heres where everyone commits to helping. But what is the type of cooperation? In your article about collaboration you state 4 ways of working together, but that is for teams and companies. Do you also know of ways of working together for groups? I hope you can help. Best wishes, Michael, moving YOU motivation, Denmark
I will look up your model, Michael! It sounds interesting. I understand what you mean about how leaders can motivate others. I like to think everyone has a leadership role in that respect. Sometimes the actual leaders are far removed from the day-to-day problems affecting motivation and not really in a position to influence employees to adopt a collaborative spirit.
The will to have things work a certain way is one thing. The actual behaviour may be quite different. As I propose elsewhere in this blog, you have to look at what kind of interchanges are actually happening in the group before you as an employee make efforts in the line of full collaboration. If no one else is doing it, or if only one person is, then you can’t. It is an exercise in futility. It doesn’t really matter whether it is a small group or a large department. People’s behaviour as shown in the group culture will reveal how feedback and ideas are integrated, how challenges to the accepted way of doing things are viewed how mistakes are addressed, how planning unfolds, etc.
We each have a responsibility to ensure we are reacting well to all interchanges, but it does not pay dividends to get out in front of any collective effort. The collectivity bears the responsibility for that. Leaders can create the conditions for a collaborative culture. They can provide resources to collaboration to take place. But it just takes a few meetings where good ideas are tossed out, or a biased attitude is allowed to prevail, and all those leadership efforts go to waste.
Let’s see if there is a way to collaborate on the answer to this question! (If I am not too late in replying to you, apologies)