Talk of collaboration is everywhere. We recognize that we need to work together more, even in a competitive world setting us against each other if we allow scarcity to be our driver.
How well do we know how to collaborate anyway?
Collaboration, and teamwork for that matter, implies a number of people (techies might say “nodes”) working together in an interconnected way, possibly on something large and complex, with many links between the elements. If the enterprise was a physical system, we’d be thinking about the bandwidth of the interconnections, or at least the engineers would be. Are the interconnections up to the job? Will they carry the necessary signals fast enough in both directions, and will those signals be received and understood? Can they cope with noise and interference? What happens if energy levels are low? Will the interconnections work well enough to keep the system operational, or limit any down-time to something tolerable?
If the physical design doesn’t measure up, we know the system won’t work.
So why do we expect to get away with inadequate interconnections when we collaborate?
If the relationships in a system of collaboration aren’t strong enough to sustain the program, product or service it is intended to deliver, then the system will fail, just as surely, but perhaps less abruptly, than a physical system. Then, seeing as people are involved, we’ll probably muddle the analysis, attributing accountability in the wrong places, and, having made thoroughly sure nothing will be learnt, settle down and prepare for the next episode.
It doesn’t have to be like that…
Do all the interconnections in your systems of collaboration have the bandwidth to deliver the intended result?
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