What was your most recent STELLAR collaborative experience?
What made it so fabulous?
Here’s a different yet related question: When was the last time you worked with someone new or with whom you had never worked before? (Knowing someone and working with them are two different things, no?) And, when I say “work”, I mean, co-created an experience or a project.
I’m about to step into the fourth stage of such an endeavor. The first stage was the idea, the second was the agreement, the third was the conversation about the dance that we could do together and today we will step onto the dance floor together.*
What factors do you consider before engaging in collaboration—whether that collaboration is by your design or the result of someone else’s suggestion or direction?
I reflect on my foundation, literally what I bring to the experience—my background, experience, goals, energy, and personal style of communication. Of course, I also consider all of the same about my colleague(s), looking for areas of similarity, easy alignment, and possible friction. It is always my intention to step into a situation with eyes wide open, understanding, and leveraging our respective strengths. Being aware of our differences (philosophical and/or practical) enables me to plan ahead, to mitigate areas of turbulence in the flow of the experience.
Assessments are a passion of mine. I rely most heavily on the VIA Character Strengths survey and Platinum Rule. The former focuses my attention on the strengths of all involved in the collaboration while the latter points to areas of easy connection and potential challenges. It’s not so much that these instruments give me answers, it’s that they increase my awareness of my interactions. (I think, very concretely, about how to remain emotionally intelligent through the experience.) (If you’re interested in learning more about these resources, please reach out to me.)
The foundation for all this work is an approach to the process of collaboration and change (because training is all about change). The five D’s of Appreciative Inquiry (Definition, Discover, Dream, Design, Destiny) guide my planning and work. Sometimes I share the essence of the approach with my colleagues and other times I keep it close to the vest, knowing that I am working with it.
What are your frameworks for understanding yourself and others, collaborative relationships, and planning for experiences/change? How do you integrate your knowledge to create unparalleled experiences?
I LOVED sharing the training experience with my colleague—seeing how we were both similar and different—and how that benefitted the participants. Of course, it made us better trainers too.
Now that I am back home, with time to reflect, I realize that I would have liked even more time talking with my colleague—processing each day’s events and the entire adventure. In this particular instance, that couldn’t happen though I made time to reflect on my own, and of course, we talked throughout our days together.
I hope you will share your approach to collaboration and the framework and practices that support such events’ planning, implementation, and evaluation.
*written last week on the way to Belgium