July 15, 2013

Stop. Collaborate and Listen

Marc Hogan was bet £1 that he couldn’t become a stand up comic in less than 12 months and perform a one man comedy show at the Edinburgh Comedy Festival for 21 nights. He won the bet!

“All right stop. Collaborate & listen”

Professor Vanilla Ice – taken from his seminal work Ice, Ice Baby

1) Collaboration – The action of working with someone to produce something.

2) Collaboration – A traitorous cooperation with an enemy.

Oxford Dictionary Online

We all know what good collaboration is and should be, but if were honest for a moment I think the second definition is closer to the truth!

In his book ‘Collaboration’ Morten Hensen sums it up very succinctly. Good collaboration amplifies strength, but poor collaboration is worse than no collaboration at all.

He highlights 4 barriers to collaboration:

1) The not-invented-here barrier (people are unwilling to reach out to others)

2) The hoarding barrier (people are unwilling to provide help)

3) The search barrier (people are not able to find what they are looking for)

4) The transfer barrier (people are not able to work with people they don’t know well)

The first two barriers are problems of the will – People don’t want to, or are afraid to collaborate.

The latter two barriers are skill problems; people lack the skills and ability issues to collaborate well.

When Collaboration works it can have incredible results Hensen highlights Apple and BP as examples, but when it goes badly the results can be near disastrous.

My question to you, is do you recognise any of those barriers in yourself or others in your company?

So how do we tear down those barriers? You’ll find out in part 2…

Click here
to watch Marc’s showreel. If you would like to find out more about Marc, visit www.marchoganlive.com or to book him for a speaking event please contact your favourite speaker bureau.


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  1. So what’s the right way? Disciplined collaboration, as articulated in the book Collaboration , is one way to get this right. It requires managers to rigorously assess the business case for any collaboration effort, spot and tear down behavioral barriers to teamwork and set up the organization correctly by aligning incentives and promoting accountability.

    Comment by Brian K. Taylor — July 28, 2013 @ 8:07 pm

  2. As long as the prospect of collaboration will achieve greater results, then why not collaborate? One of the main assumptions, and often overlooked, is whether people are willing. Understanding the barriers that Hansen has discovered in his research, including associated variables of behaviors and attitudes can give you food for thought. More importantly, identifying collaboration barriers can be the next step for you or your group to make progress.

    Comment by Silver Price — July 28, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

  3. Brian

    You are completely right, I think discipline is the Key so many people just collaborate, for collaboration’s sake, with no proper outcome or measure of whether its successful or not.

    Comment by marchogan — July 30, 2013 @ 7:49 am

  4. I agree Silver

    I believe that for most people and companies it comes down to the ‘Will’ to actually collaborate, and its up to management to help facilitate that by listening to their people and removing any barriers that exist.

    Comment by marchogan — July 30, 2013 @ 7:52 am

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