A to Z of people skills – Collaboration

April 2nd, 2012

From competition to compromise to collaboration.

Collaboration covers a number of areas in business from the associate and consultancy arrangements which exist between many small and micro businesses to the multi-disciplinary teams within large organisations.

However, many people simply co-operate, often reluctantly, rather than being active collaborators and there is often a confusion between compromise and collaborate.

To me, compromising is something two, or more, people do in order to get to a solution which is acceptable to all parties with neither side getting everything it wants. Collaboration is where two or more people come together to create a new solution which is more than simply the sum of its parts.

In my experience, rather than viewing the competition as something external to the business, it often exists across teams and divisions within medium to large businesses; it is rarely “healthy competition” actively encouraging everyone to achieve more. Compromise happens on a small scale and in some major negotiations but, on a day-to-day basis is rare; it is often a result of one person’s strive to deal with a tricky situation in an assertive manner, no longer putting up with the status quo. Collaboration is rarer still.

Having worked on UK-wide projects, I’ve seen how collaboration can really work – and how much more could be achieved in some areas. Within the work I do now, I’ve found many small business owners looking to collaborative and find creative solutions.

What’s your experience?

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