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Collaboration

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Collaboration
How leaders avoid the Traps, Create unity, and reap big results (Morten Hansen)

Goal:
Show power of effective collaboration and the great dangers of incompetent collaboration. Also author want to explain how to collaborate.

Summary:
Morten Hansen said: “Good collaboration amplifies strength, but poor collaboration is worse than no collaboration at all.” What is the goal of collaboration? The goal of collaborations is not to get people work together, collaboration must generate better result. Author identified set of principles he called “disciplined collaboration”. There are three steps of it:

“The idea of disciplined collaboration can be summed up in one phrase: the leadership practice of properly assessing when to collaborate and instilling in people in people both the willingness and the ability to collaborate then required.”

Key arguments:
1. Evaluate opportunities for collaboration- what we gain a great upside by collaboration? ( “the goal of collaboration is not collaboration, but better result”)
Goal for:
Companies- innovate, cut the cost, find new customers
Governments and non-profits- great projects performance, better decisions, lower cost
Legislators- solve the problems citizens care about.

However people should start collaboration projects only in the net value of collaboration is greater that the return minus both opportunity costs and collaboration costs. Author called in “Collaboration Premium”

2. Potential barriers: what are the barriers blocking people from collaborating well?
The not-invented-here barrier – unwillingness to reach out to others
Possible reasons:
Insular culture- little outside communication
Status gap- nobody wants to cross status lines
Self-reliance- everyone should fix their own problems \
Fear-people afraid to ask a help
The hoarding barrier- unwillingness to help
Possible reasons
Completion with colleagues
Lack of incentives for joint work
Lack of time to help others
Fear of losing power by sharing information
The search barrier- people cannot find what they need
In a big companies it is hard to search for the problems, ideas etc.
It is hard to search because of physical distance
Too much information can on the reasons
Lack of networking
The transfer barrier – unwillingness to work with not well known people.
Tacit knowledge- it is hard to transfer tacit knowledge
People don’t know how to work together
For some people it is hard to transfer knowledge when they don’t each other well

3. Tailor solution to tear down the barriers- after understanding which barriers we can face we can get tailoring solutions. Almost all solutions will be mixed in three levers
Unification lever- get everyone work toward common goal
Create a unifying goal (must articulate a common fate, must be simple and concrete, must strip passion, put completion outside)
Create a core value of teamwork
Create a language which encourage collaboration
People lever (T-shape) - work within and across units simultaneously
Chance reward system
Use T-shaped promotion criteria
Specify what the criteria for cross-unit contributions will be
Gather data about cross-unit collaboration consistently
Recruit new people
Coach for T-shaped behavior
Network lever- use interpersonal networks
Myth about networking: 1- networking is always good- some people spend tot much time for networking and forget about result
2- The more people you have in your network, the better – quality, not the quantity, is important
3- Success goes to the social gifted- good networkers can be everywhere, and very different
4- Networking is an art rather than science- with the help of social science, networks can not only be measured but also better managed.
Six rules of network
1. Build outward, not inward
2. Build a diverse network and not merely a large network
3. Build weak ties, rather than strong ties
4. Work hard to develop bridges
5. Try and swarm your target
6. Know when it is time to switch to strong ties

Three kinds of behaviors which characterize a collaborative leadership style:
1- Redefine success to move from narrow agendas to big goals
2- Involve others in making more inclusive decisions
3- Be accountable and take responsibility for mistakes
In order to use collaborative leadership people must overcome personal barriers such as: hunger for power arrogance defensiveness fear ego
More leaders use a collaborative leadership style if they reduce these personal barriers.

Comments:
Book was very interesting for me and I enjoyed reading it. I learned few lesson from the book and I believe that in the modern world and business effective collaboration is one o the most important thing. There is a need for effective collaboration - both in the private and public sectors. I think one key to success is acknowledging that not every leader has collaborative leadership skills. Therefore we need to strive to develop and improve our collaborative skills in order to avoid problems and failures.

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