I love to collaborate. The more, the merrier, I say. I’m excited by the “crowdsourcing” taking place in our politics, commerce, education, and social spheres. But, recently, I’ve started to wonder about whether all this collaboration is “all good.”
Behind this curiosity is my participation (in various capacities) with several organizations that happen to pride themselves on having a “collaborative culture.” That includes ensuring that there is adequate input and discussion from everyone on a range of matters; valuing and trying to find consensus; and being respectful and collegial to others engaged in these conversations and gatherings.
So far, so good, right? After all, the more ideas on the table, the better. Not to mention that it’s a great opportunity to build relationships and trust, I say.
What I—and others—are starting to see, however, is that there can be a tendency for organizations to see collaboration as an end unto itself, rather than a process, management style or approach that’s a means to an end: clear and informed actual decisions. As a friend who consults with many large nonprofit organizations said to me recently, “I sat in an eight-hour meeting with a group that prides itself on its collaborative culture…But they couldn’t see that there’s a difference between valuing collaboration as a process and making decisions about outcomes.”
Read the rest of Cindy’s post at http://blog.tpi.org/?p=469.