Five Steps to Outstanding Collaboration + Heart

By Morag Barrett on November 6, 2012

Posted by Morag Barrett | November 6, 2012Five Steps to Outstanding Collaboration + HeartI am in the process of writing a book, for those of you who have done so, you will know just how much is involved in going from concept, to manuscript to final publication.  For those of you considering writing a book, whatever you perceive as being the effort required – double it!As part of my process I have recently launched a Book Advisory Board.  This is a group of eight senior leaders whose opinion I value, each leader comes from a different industry and background, the intent is that they will each bring a different perspective and feedback as they read through the manuscript.  The role of the Board is provide the feedback I need to hear, and to make recommendations, that will ultimately help ensure the best possible outcome and final book.Today was the first meeting and the conversation far exceeded my expectations, I mean I knew that it would be useful, but the impact was outstanding.  I left the call energized and with great comments and suggestions.  Those who participated contacted me afterwards to thank me for the opportunity and to share how invaluable they found the process.I thought about that call through the rest of the day and the outstanding collaboration experience that we had all shared.  What had made it so successful?  I identified the following elements that helped to make it exceptional:ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: When I invited everyone to join the Board I provided clear and concise expectations as to their role.  I made it explicit what I expected of them and what they could expect of me.Everyone was PREPARED: Prior to the call I sent out the first few chapters of the manuscript along with the questions we were to discuss.  Everyone took the time to read the manuscript, reflect on their feedback and was ready to contribute – nobody tried to wing it.The meeting was FACILITATED: I had a facilitator for the call which allowed me to LISTEN.  My facilitator helped to keep us on track and ensure that everyone contributed and was heard.CANDOR and FEEDBACK: Once we got into the rhythm of the call (a telephone conference with 8 participants takes a few minutes to get into its stride) the momentum built.  Contributions were made, and other participants either affirmed or built on the ideas and feedback that was shared.  No one felt awkward giving the “do-better” or “do-different” feedback, in fact the conversation uncovered new thoughts and ideas that individually the participants had not had.CLEAR NEXT STEPS: As we closed the call everyone was thanked for their contribution. I reminded them of how their feedback was to be incorporated and when they could expect to receive the next sections of the book.Five simple steps that resulted in an empowering and enlightening collaboration effort.However, there was one more critical element that came to mind later in the day.  HEART.  Everyone came to this conversation and agreed to participate on the board with the right HEART, their generous intent was to help me to be successful, to provide the feedback I needed to hear (rather than what I may have wanted to hear) and to do so in a generous and respectful way.  My heart was open, to welcome them into the process and to truly hear what they had to say and in doing so did not at anytime feel defensive.How often do we consider our heart or out intent when we collaborate at work? More often than not we do not set expectations, we do not provide the framework and tools that enable everyone to contribute completely, as a result we hold back, we don’t share our true thoughts, we worry about hidden agendas and the whole process and outcome suffers.My challenge to you – where is your heart right now? Is it geared towards helping others succeed or is it limiting your ability to contribute fully.  How can you approach your next collaboration effort whole-heartedly?Related ArticlesTags »charactercollaborationEmotional IntelligenceEQleadership development denverTeam activitiesTrustvalues Share
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