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Collaboration is hard because we’ve been conditioned to work independently since early childhood. Working in teams and relying on others can often feel counter-intuitive and many of us have been told we must figure things out on our own.
Consider some of the messages you’ve likely heard over the years:
- Keep your eyes on your own work.
- Mind your business.
- It’s not your problem.
- Stay in your own swim lane.
Do any of these messages sound familiar?
We’ve been trained to focus on what’s on our own plate and what will benefit us individually. We have created and sustained systems that reward people for individual performance – systems that assess value based on how we compare to others and define success based on mostly technical competence. We have celebrated a win-lose culture for so long.
Certainly, independent thinking is critical, but how can we expand our mindset and growth for greater innovation if we are limited to our own thinking? The best performing teams create a safe space to ask questions, seek help from peers, and support one another. They focus on and celebrate the achievement of the team, and are comprised of people with diverse, complementary strengths. Collaborating can actually help us achieve goals for the collective good and can prepare us to face challenges more dynamically. Collaboration is about achieving win-wins.
The COVID-19 crisis has given us hope for a better future by proving we have the power to shift to a mindset of collaboration for better results. People across the world have come together to help one another during the most challenging of times. Businesses, too, who are collaborating not just within their organizations but also with their clients, their communities and even their competitors, to solve complex societal challenges are achieving more profitable results.
As we prepare to lead into an uncertain future, we need to use this crisis as an opportunity to shift the paradigm of power from individual achievement to collective contribution. The earlier we can learn to work better together and foster systems that reward collaboration, the more prepared we’ll be able to face whatever the future holds.
At InspiraWork, we prepare your leaders, at all levels, to co-create positive change. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to create a culture of collaboration. You can also register for our complimentary interactive virtual chat, Leading with Clients and Communities, Wednesday 4/22 at 4pm ET by clicking here.