How To Crush Those Barriers To Collaboration

by Lisa Bodell for ForbesWomen

What’s stopping you from collaborating with others? What’s stopping your team? According to the Leadership Research Institute, people are willing to collaborate when there’s a personal connection, common interest, or an otherwise compelling reason to so.

To move beyond excuses and arrive at solutions, start by asking each of your teams what prevents them from making collaboration part of their workday? Then list their responses on a whiteboard or flip chart. Common examples of barriers might include “other teams are in opposite time zones” or “there’s no real incentive to do it” or “collaboration slows down our progress.”

Resist the instinct to defend or interrogate; just encourage people to keep sharing and write everything down. Once you’ve captured all the barriers, ask people to make a case for the ones that are the most problematic.

Discussing why something is a barrier can help you discover the root problems for low engagement around collaboration. For example, if a problematic barrier involves “opposite time zones,” people might mention the long lag time for feedback and answers to critical questions. Or, you might hear that collaboration isn’t among the performance review criteria, so why dedicate energy to it?

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