Archive | Collaboration

Do You Have a Productive Partnership or a Tug of War?

Productive Partnership or Tug of War

They’re supposed to be your ally. Your co-conspirator. Your partner. But instead it feels like every conversation is a struggle. This isn’t how it is supposed to be.

In the best partnerships, people create something that neither could have accomplished on their own. They merge their unique perspectives, resources, and interests together in the interest of a greater goal. Easier said than done.

In our new white paper, “What Makes a Productive Partnership,” Amber Mayes and I break it down:

  • What are the four critical issues every partnership needs to address?
  • What’s the challenge most likely to make a partnership crash and burn?
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Beat the Conference Blahs

UnConference Format Listening

It’s Day Two of the convention and my body aches from sitting in one place for so long. I’ve heard experts tell me what to do and how to do it. I’ve seen ten PowerPoint templates and seven videos. I’ve been promised the Next Big Thing. What I haven’t been is inspired. Or even very engaged.

Too many conferences suffer from the assumption that the best way to use people’s time is to subject them to elaborately designed presentations. After seeing a PowerPoint, we may be able to retell one or two of the best practices Company X used. But can we take those ideas and use them to make a difference?

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Collaborating Across Borders: Five Keys to Creating Powerful Partnerships

Collaborating across borders. If this dog and cat can do it, so can we. Image by Hannah W on flickr.

Several weeks ago, a distraught vice president called. His organization had just been restructured and he had just received ownership for two new divisions. He needed to integrate the new divisions quickly and help them collaborate with his existing organization.

The problem was that he had inherited a group of people who didn’t understand why the change had happened. They were struggling to comprehend why they should redesign their processes to accommodate the new organization chart. In addition, they were used to working alone and saw no reason to collaborate with their new peers. The VP had to help them find the way while continuing to raise the performance bar.

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Getting the Message Across: Five Levels of Change Communications

Five Levels of Communication

You told them… and they did the opposite.

You told them… and they ignored what you said.

You told them… and they got it.

People often tell me that change communications are the most challenging implementation task. Everyone knows that communication is necessary. But so much communication fails. People misunderstand the message, ignore it, or even counter it. That’s not how it should be.

The Five Levels of Communication

This tool, the Five Levels of Communication, provides a simple, intuitive, and logical method for planning and implementing communication during change initiatives. Developed by Linda Ackerman Anderson and Dean Anderson of Being First and highlighted in their book, The Change Leader’s Roadmap, the Five Levels of Communication is the best tool I can recommend for change communication.

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Building Your Network: How to Make It Work with Your Boss

collaboration at work

Is your biggest networking problem your boss? Read this article for tips and techniques on how to network with your boss.

The relationship with your boss is one of the most important in the workplace. Your boss has the power to recommend you for new assignments, high-profile teams, promotions, and raises. She can make your life miserable or help you achieve your goals. Yet, despite the importance of this relationship, there are many more books on how to manage direct reports than how to manage bosses. This article explores four factors—style, context, relationship, and urgency—to consider before giving up on the relationship with your boss.

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The Power Five: Better Decisions through Strategic Questions

strategic questions

People are always looking for their magic wand: a miraculous tool that will immediately and painlessly improve the problem at hand. I haven’t found a magic wand yet. But this tool is the closest I’ve found so far.

The Power Five are five strategic questions that uncover expectations, assumptions, inter-dependencies, and impacts. They’re five of the best questions to use in any situation and bringing them into any decision-making, strategy, or planning conversation will improve the likelihood of a positive outcome.

The five questions are:

  • What is the goal?
  • Where are we now?
  • How will we get where we want to go?
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    Trust Falls at Work… Seriously? Trust in the Workplace


    I talk with a lot of people about networks. I tell them that, at the very root of the matter, networks are about trust. We build relationships with people we trust in order to solve problems, get things done, and imagine what could make our companies successful and the world a better place.

    When I have these conversations about trust, one group of people nods. They intuitively understand the importance of being able to trust your colleagues.

    Then there’s another group that subtly backs away, wary that I’m going to ask them to put on a blindfold and fall backwards into their colleagues’ arms.

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    I’ve Got Your Back: Trust at Work

    Trust at Work

    A fellow blogger, Charlotte Erdmann, recently wrote that the future of work will be more flexible and more networked. She’s right on.

    What caught my eye in her article was the word “trust.” Charlotte mentioned it three times. No wonder: In a world in which information flows much more freely and people collaborate more frequently than in the past, trust is essential.

    Unfortunately, trust is also elusive. Over the past several years, I’ve worked with a variety of clients on issues such as strategy, change, and leadership. It doesn’t matter what I’m overtly doing with the client. Trust always comes up.

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    Who You Calling Virtual? Leading a Virtual Team

    It's not about the virtual, it's about the team.

    Let’s get one thing out of the way: there’s no such thing as a virtual team. They’re only called virtual teams because members are distributed across organization boundaries, time zones, and countries. And the virtual piece isn’t the problem at all. It’s a red herring.

    People like to blame their problems with dispersed teams on the technology. They complain: “The WebEx froze halfway through our session” or “All I can hear is buzzing on the conference line.” Yes, these are problems. But, dear readers, many of you are tech people. You can figure it out.

    The real problem is—and always has been—the team.

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    Networking for Introverts: A Starter List of Tips & Techniques

    Introvert v. Extrovert. Image by <a href="">Jeff Wysaski</a>

    I recently wrote about how we need to rethink networking: what it is and why we do it. I confessed that I am, in fact, an introvert and that I force myself to get through large-scale, cocktail-style, traditional networking events. I shared my belief that we need to network differently, particularly those of us who are introverts.

    A Starter List: Networking for Introverts

    What are some networking techniques that are well suited to introverts’ styles? Here’s a quick list.

    Share a link, article, or report that you think will interest a specific person. I have a list of my top ten connectors: people who have gone out of their way to connect me to others.

    Read more »

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