Collaborating? Know yourself and flex accordingly

Imagine being in a collaboration – perhaps between departments in the same company, or perhaps between companies in an alliance.

Do you feel all the weight of your department’s culture behind you, pressing you to behave in ‘our’ way?

Perhaps you feel frustrated with the other team? Frustrated at ‘their’ way of approaching tasks?

You know, intellectually, that you need to take a different approach so that you can work better with them:

  • Seeing the world through their eyes
  • ‘Walking in their shoes’
  • Flexing your organization’s standard approach

Having such an awareness is one thing; being willing to flex your behaviour to others is another.

The Unexpected Benefits from Skill Training

As a third party, we’ve coached, mediated and facilitated many collaborations between teams with good success.

Supported in this way, some of the department leaders we had worked with, realised there were some skills we had that they wanted, and these could be be taught and practised. They asked us to develop and lead a Skills Masterclass to do this.

We’ve led a number of tailored Collaboration Skill Masterclasses in this kind of situation. Each one tailored to the client’s needs, although always having:

We have been surprised how effective this has been at helping leaders to lift a mirror up to themselves to clearly see their unique patterns, e.g.

  • For one department: they realised they spent so much time ‘perfecting’ the process that then they didn’t have time to get into the actual content
  • For another department: choosing to take everything ‘personally’, instead of problem-solving together
  • For another company: being too polite to disagree, losing time on dead-ends, rather than investing it where there was more likelihood of success

How Is This Helpful for the Future?

In each case, we asked how this impacted them in their collaborations.

As they discussed this, they stepped from

  • an intellectual awareness
  • to having empathy
  • to being motivated to manage this behaviour consciously when working with the other department
  • to being an even more successful collaborator.

As a collaborator, how aware and willing are you to flex your behaviour?

If you would like to learn more about how we work with alliances or collaborations directly or through skill training, please do get in touch. fff

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