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The Fifth Great Myth of Collaboration

There's a lot of bullshit about collaboration!

It seems that the more we ask people to do it, the more we hedge it around with misconceptions and inappropriate expectations.

I've written before about the four most common myths. This fifth is probably the most pernicious.


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Almost by definition, leading collaborations is not all up to you, yet somehow we still fall back into the idea that it takes one great individual to make it happen.

There is always a (small) core of deeply passionate, committed people who are willing to be accountable for outcomes beyond their responsibilities at the heart of an effective collaborative effort, but whenever I see a great project that relies on an individual to keep moving forward I wince... it's unsustainable and they are not collaborative leaders!

What makes a Collaborative Leader?

There is sooo much to say about this, and I do in my seminars, but critically, what makes a leader collaborative or not has more to do with factors outside of them than inside of them!

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Highly underrated!

Some workplaces will turn anyone into a collaborator, some will stymie the most generous innovator imaginable (see HERE for my White Paper on "Protecting the Bureaxratci Soul for more on the different levels of operative culture and you can try and pick what level your organization is at!)

What's Needed

Again, weirdly ignored.

The kind of project required makes a huge difference: is it a social network or recasting the water system in a region? It's not just content but a requirement for the kind of person you have to be to lead it!


In some ways who you are is the last element.

I teach a lot of Life Phases and the Four Human Temperaments in understanding more about who you are and what you need to bring forth in yourself to be effective as a collaborative leader.

The key is that you need to tailor yourself to your environment and what is required of the goal you have set... NOT try to tailor the goals and environment to you! This is a deeper and more challenging statement than it first seems...

As a collaborative leader, your willingness to dip into your emotional savings account to move a project forward is salutary but not sustainable.

There is a better way but it means YOU have to change :-)


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