“Let’s collaborate more” is commonly heard in organizations, and it may be easier said than done. As part of our February posts around collaboration, today’s post explores six barriers to collaboration, along with some possible ways to address these topics:
The six barriers we are going to explore in today’s blog post are:
- Lack of Candor
- Inability to work across differences
- Different End Goals
- Lack of Trust
Barrier #1 – Ego – One of the biggest barriers which can get in the way of collaboration is our ego. In collaboration it is important to “park our ego” as much as possible so that we can truly be listening and hearing for what is needed to really synergize. Another commonly used term for parking our ego is “becoming unattached”. When we become too attached to our end result we may not hear or see possibilities which will actually end with a greater end result.
Barrier #2 - Power – When power differentials are too different it can be very difficult to collaborate. In those instances where one group/person may have more “power” whether due to resourcing, or information, it is important to design the boundaries of collaboration and be clear with intent.
Barrier #3 – Lack of candor – Candor is defined as “the quality of being open and honest in expression; frankness” in the Oxford Dictionary. Candor is a critical ingredient for collaboration. Without it there will be a lot of wasted effort, and the true essence of collaboration will not be possible. Being able to share ideas without concern for judgement, the ability to be frank and open with feedback are all essential ingredients for collaboration
Barrier #4 – Inability to work across differences. In collaboration synergies, and differences, are usually harnessed. The ability to work across differences, making changes with one’s own style, is another essential ingredient for collaboration.
Barrier #5 – Different End Goals – When end goals are too different it can be very difficult to have collaboration. For example, if one member is aiming for an end result that is about quality and the other solely on speed, it may be more challenging to find the middle ground amongst the two. In these instances the end result needs to become an AND rather than an OR. So A AND B, rather than A OR B.
Barrier #6 – Lack of Trust. The one essential which will usually arrest collaboration before it starts is lack of trust. When trust is low, or non-existent, it is difficult to collaborate. Collaboration requires honesty, feedback, listening, candor, and bringing your best work to the table, in service to something greater. When trust is low or non-existent, these skills are usually not present.
As you consider your upcoming collaboration, how are you doing with these ingredients?
With best wishes,