Posted on Leave a comment

Sustaining the collaborative mindset

In a previous post I touched upon the behaviours associated with the different levels on the maturity continuum.

At the level of Dependency you tend to see Collusive behaviours.  Rather than challenge ideas and processes a dependent individual seeks to avoid risk and conflict in order that their survival is assured.

At the level of Independence the desire for status, recognition and reward drives behaviours that enable the individual to stand out from others.  We see Competitive behaviours.

At the level of Interdependence the quest is for the synergistic solution, a solution that requires the combined efforts of a group and so we see Collaborative behaviours.

What happens when the group searching for the synergistic solution gets into difficulties, when the level of challenge and conflict within the group may get a little too intense? Could it be that rather than choosing to give the response that keeps collaboration alive, an instinct / reactive response is given to a stimulus such as someone challenging an idea?  An instinctive / reactive response is not a PROACTIVE response.

If a group abandons collaborative behaviour the only place to go is back to the competitive behaviours.  When this happens you will see defensive behaviours, blaming, judging emerge.  The group breaks down and the competitive individuals can emerge and seek to dominate proceedings.

How do you sustain the collaborative mindset – where the output of the group is greater than any individual?

The art of collaboration is turning conflict into a positive force – in the spark of conflict lives creativity.  I’ve already discussed the concept of being RESPONSE-ABLE and choosing to be PROACTIVE.  A useful paradigm to help with this is PERCEPTION IS PROJECTION.  Essentially, this maxim suggests that what we perceive in other people is merely a reflection of our own self, otherwise how would we recognize a behaviour in someone else.  Acting as if this is true helps keep relationships collaborative, if making judgments about others (defensive behaviour or competitive behaviour is based upon judgments) is merely describing your own behaviour, why bother?

Being RESPONSE-ABLE and recognising that every behaviour has a positive intention and can be used to propel the group to a synergistic outcome is the way to sustain the collaborative mindset.

In future blogs I will explore more of the attitudes and beliefs that help sustain the collaborative mindset.

Posted on Leave a comment

Collaborating through Interdependence…the Mindset (2)

In my previous post I described the choice that is made to be Interdependent and to collaborate.  This choice is the foundation stone of all effective relationships (interdependent collaborative relationships being the most effective form of relationship you can have).

Having made the choice, sustaining the choice is the next step.  In my last blog I used the phrase ‘RESPONSE-ABLE’.  I’d like to expand on this phrase during this blog today.

In any relationship stuff is going to happen, its inevitable!  What’s important is not that stuff happens, its how you choose to deal with what’s happening that makes the difference.  How well you choose to respond is what will build your credibility in the relationship and this will build the trust in the relationship.  With a high level of trust in your relationship collaboration will work.

So am I saying here that your effectiveness in collaboration is simply based upon following through on your initial choice to be PROACTIVE and to be the CAUSE of your own SUCCESS?  Yes I am.

Why be RESPONSE-ABLE?

Conditioning plays a major role in all our decisions and to a large extent we behave in ways that have been practiced over many years.  Our behaviour patterns become habits, the result of conditioning.  When something happens, by this I mean when someone says something, does something etc, this is a STIMULUS.  When a stimulus is applied we respond.  It is in the RESPONSE where you make a difference!

In the animal world a specific stimulus generates a specific response.  Animals tend not to have the mental capacity to choose a different response, unless they have been trained to give another ‘specific’ response.  As humans we have the mental capacity to choose our response.  Between STIMULUS and RESPONSE there is a space: the CHOICE space.  It is in this space where you can choose your response to whatever stimulus has been applied.  This is where you can be RESPONSE-ABLE.

Being proactive is being response-able.  Choosing to be open to responding to whatever stimuli present themselves to you in such a way as to stay focused on your outcome is vital to your success.  In collaborative relationships there will be ample opportunities for you to practice this ability.  Your collaboration partners (and you on occasion) will behave in ways that create the opportunity for proactivity to be challenged.  Remember, your interpretation of events is your choice and response-ability.  What people do is merely what people do, what you choose to do with what people do is entirely your choice.

Posted on Leave a comment

Collaborating through Interdependence…the Mindset (1)

So if the essential pre-requisite for collaboration is the mindset of INTERDEPENDENCE, how then do you achieve that mindset?

As discussed in my previous blog being Interdependent is a choice that independent people can make.  The important aspect is the ‘choice’ itself.

By choosing INTERDEPENDENCE and seeking to be COLLABORATIVE in your behaviour a number of fundamental attitudes and thinking patterns automatically begin to be important.  It is whether you are able to stay true to these attitudes and thinking patterns that will determine if your behaviour is collaborative and whether you sustain an interdependent relationship.

So what are the attitudes and thinking patterns?

It all starts with a choice.  To make a positive choice is to be PROACTIVE.  Stephen R. Covey in his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, states that the first Habit (the one from which all else follows) is BE PROACTIVE.  This is more than just choosing to do something or have something or be something.  It is about accepting responsibility for everything that stems from your choice.  You are the creator of everything that flows from the choices you make about yourself in the world.  So take a proactive approach to life and be response-able.

Another way that this may be interpreted is to be at CAUSE in your life.  Accept that you are the cause of your life.  If you choose not to be the CAUSE in your life then you find yourself at EFFECT and someone else is responsible for whatever is happening to you.  Being at EFFECT is not a good place to be, it’s where reasons and excuses (reasons being sophisticated excuses) are given as to why you could not be successful. It’s about blame.  That is not going to work in a collaborative environment.

So Be Proactive, be the Cause of your own Success.