People are talking about the benefits of collaboration. Michael Hyatt and Michele Cushatt looked at five advantages from their experience in a video that is no longer available. I will summarize their points here. But there were many gems, such as how it is not necessary to completely agree with one another when collaborating. They also address how to build great collaborative teams.
Their approach was low-key, and inspired by their years of working with a great team.
Hyatt’s five collaborative advantages
1. Increased satisfaction, especially when you surround yourself with people you enjoy working with.
2. Multiplied results, in that more can be achieved when working with others.
3. Broadened perspective, which comes when you invite or work with people who have diverse expertise.
4. Diversified talent base, working with people who bring skills that complement yours is a source of joy and value.
5. Increased ability to grow, as collaboration helps us to be flexible and adaptive, while increasing our self-awareness.
[Note that the video is no longer available]
Building Great Teams
In a later episode of their YouTube podcast, they discussed what makes great teams. After describing the three levels of unity for teams, Michael and Michele talk about how to take the team to the third stage: Alignment.
Three basic levels of unity
1. Acceptance – people acquiesce to the will of a leader.
2. Agreement – people agree and support the leader’s direction provided and buy in to the arguments, but which may fall apart since there is no real investment.
3. Alignment – people share their commitment to the leader’s outcome and vision. There is discussion again here about how full agreement is not always necessary. What is important is the discussion and listening that is part of the process.
In my blog, I have discussed the continuum of collaboration. These three “A” levels correspond with the middle levels in my diagram and represent the levels at which most day-to-day collaboration takes place.
Hyatt’s five steps for getting to alignment
Alignment, number 3 above, is where the great team wants to be. This discussion tends to lean in to the leader’s perspective, but I am quite sure it can be extended to all members of the team where the leadership is more egalitarian. It helps that the leader is seen here as the person responsible for and engaged with the team in the decision, and not a mere figurehead.
1. Discuss all three levels of unity—acquiescence, agreement, alignment—with the team.
2. Clearly articulate the vision, strategy or program. Describe the endgame, although it is ok to have the team’s help in creating that vision. But it is essential to lead with the vision. No one should have to be guessing what the direction is. Make sure all know what the why is.
3. Create an environment that is safe for dissent. This, Hyatt says, is the leader’s role and work. People on the team should not feel like they are walking on eggshells. When someone disagrees, affirm the point, even if you disagree. People are more likely to contribute at the level where the sum is greater than the parts.
4. Take time to consider your decisions. Show thoughtful consideration wherever possible, especially for significant decisions and discuss the final decision with the team (as in #5, below). This helps avoid “buyer’s remorse” which can affect decision makers.
5. Announce your decision and ask for alignment. Show how it supports the why. If someone on the cannot align with the decision, it could point to a problem with the decision. Over the life of a project, the team has to be aligned frequently and intentionally. Alignment is the ongoing work of the leader, and, one might add, of the team in general.
Final word from Hyatt
“As a leader don’t settle for agreement. Drive for alignment. It does make a difference and it will show up in your results!”
Photo credit: The image Stop, collaborate and listen was taken by Dan Shall and posted on Flickr.