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|How Suspicion and Mistrust Cripple Collaboration|
|Written by Administrator|
|Friday, 09 November 2012 06:28|
By Paul Burgess
In today’s global organizations, there is no denying that effective collaboration is critical for business success. Organizational transformation, major strategic initiatives and culture change simply cannot succeed without collaboration. But whether across the hall or across the ocean, true collaboration relies on understanding each other, speaking the same language, aligning on common goals, and most importantly: a foundation of trust. Without trust, the dirty work of suspicion, questioning of motives and mistrust will cripple effective collaboration and derail business success.
There is a lot of hype around the term collaboration, especially with the rapid growth of social media and technology. Certain tools claim to heighten collaboration just by offering a forum for communication; however effective collaboration isn’t that simple. It’s not about where people collaborate; it’s about how to make collaboration happen. It’s important to know what drives people to reach out to each other and witness the transformational results when they do so.
My organization, Link-up International, has worked with a great deal of global teams and organizations to help them achieve business success using our I.D. System®. We have a deep understanding of what effective collaboration actually looks like, how it can be achieved, why it’s critical, and how to keep it alive. Through hands-on research, we know the requirements for sparking and sustaining efficient and innovative collaboration that will achieve business results. It requires uncovering each person’s drives and motivations and opening a forum of communication based on truly understanding each other.
The Natural Default to Mistrust
Our research shows that most people are well intentioned; we all have a deep desire to understand the motivations behind people’s words and actions and/or organizational change. However, without a way to gain a clear understanding of how things will affect us personally, adjustments such as shifting leadership, or merely the arrival of a new colleague, can bring about suspicion, assumptions and judgments.
It’s easy for individuals and teams – especially when under stress and challenging deliverables – to default to a place of suspicion and mistrust. This happens because when people don’t understand each other’s motives, they tend to get emotional and jump to conclusions. Negative lines of questioning take over and any chance of effective collaboration disintegrates.
As part of the natural hesitation to trust others, people can experience difficulty working on projects with cross-functional, global or virtual co-workers. By no fault of their own, people who come from different teams/backgrounds/departments/cultures often have trouble understanding each other, aligning on common goals and communicating at all. A common language is necessary to prevent this from happening.
Real, Constructive Conversations
Organizations are much more effective and collaboration is successful when leaders and teams assume positive intent, which is much easier to do when you know how colleagues are “wired.” Positive, constructive communication can override these (fundamentally) self- preservation elements from creeping into the workplace and opens the door for effective collaboration.
Unfortunately, people separated by geography or who may not see eye-to-eye frequently avoid real conversations and don’t try to work through misunderstandings. Clearly, this negatively impacts teams, departments and even the organization overall.
Real, constructive conversations are steeped with personal awareness of one’s own motivations and generate a better understanding of others. They help people align on common goals, problems and solutions without jumping to conclusions. And they build a foundation of trust.
A common language makes conversations easier, by creating understanding, cooperation and engagement. (At Link-up and within all organizations that we’ve worked with, this common language is referred to as I.D.™). I.D. serves as a common language to discuss needs and motivations and creates awareness about what individuals and teams need to be “in-stride” and how to sustainably deliver business success.
Once a common language is established, teams, partners and organizations can have those tough conversations (e.g. difficult co-workers, organizational change, poor results) and achieve constructive outcomes without hurting relationships.
How I.D. Allows for Constructive Conversations
Link-up’s I.D. System puts an end to the vicious cycle of misunderstanding and miscommunication by uncovering a person’s Instinctive Drives® and facilitating conversations among colleagues. I.D. defines why you do what you do; what drives and motivates you; and what you need to be your best.
Through a self-administered assessment and personalized results, the I.D. System builds self-awareness and understanding and identifies how each person can be effective, productive and fulfilled. I.D. defines natural talents and shows how to leverage them. It also explains how to manage vulnerabilities and how to build an understanding of how people see the world and the world sees them.
However, in an organization, the key isn’t merely self-awareness, it’s understanding what drives each of us differently, how to maximize relationships and speak the same language.
Through a facilitated, open sharing of each team member’s I.D™s, Link-up’s consultants help companies by taking people through the following process: You learn about you. > You learn about them (your co-workers). > They learn about themselves. > They learn about you. As a result, people gain a foundation of knowledge and trust and start speaking the same I.D. language.
Each individual I.D. report provides personalized tips, processes and strategies for working and living at maximum potential, which can be digested and shared with others. When colleagues understand I.D., they approach conversations from an entirely different level and can say things such as, “It’s the Verify in me that makes me ask…” Or “As an Avoid Authenticate, I may not explain the whole picture clearly enough, so please let me know.” Team members will know where they are coming from and suspicions are removed. Additionally, it brings peace to individuals when they know that others understand their own motivations and genuine intentions.
The I.D. System also transforms relationships and conversations by breaking down barriers. For example, two people with different approaches to the same problem can quickly see why they are in conflict and, more importantly, what to do differently to be more in sync. Clearly this course of action is better than heated debates, procrastination or the passive aggressive behavior of doubting each other’s motives, jumping to conclusions and wrongly judging the other’s behaviors as attitudinal or devious. Unfortunately, this is what normally happens when natural suspicions are at play.
Knowledge about individual I.D.s accelerates projects, creates alignment and ensures success. From a leadership perspective, it allows leaders to leverage natural strengths to foster effective collaboration.
Overall, The I.D. System removes the crippling effects of suspicion, questioning and mistrust because it explains individual needs and motivations, builds a platform for trust and real, constructive conversations and accelerates collaboration.
How Does I.D. Keep Collaboration Alive and Effective Over the Long Term?
I.D. offers that intersection where people with different experiences, perspectives and roles can meet and align on common goals and truly collaborate. It serves as a catalyst to trust where people can think and express themselves in the language of I.D.
For example, if someone knows why they are driven to ask questions, or to prepare a presentation at the last minute, or need time to process, they can explain to others that it’s their natural drive to do so. Then it’s what people do with this insight that matters most: building strategies to leverage natural talents and mitigate vulnerabilities. And those who understand I.D. know what their colleagues are referring to because they speak the same language.
A platform for long-term business success is built when people know and use the I.D. System.
Case Study: Collaboration as a business driver
Here’s an example of how the I.D. System has improved and heightened collaboration and improved an overall business. An organization we work with, like many others, had a culture of silos, including duplicate functions that cost time, money and resources. However, leadership knew true, effective collaboration is what would allow them to improve internally and externally to enhance the brand and competitiveness in the marketplace.
From the CEO down, the company had a corporate–wide commitment to improve collaboration and avoid destructive, internal competition between silos. There was also a very intentional objective of building trust by sharing and understanding what drives each other.
To meet this objective of trust, individuals within the organization took their I.D. to grow self-awareness and to learn more about each other. By identifying each person’s Instinctive Drives, needs, talents and vulnerabilities, I.D. helped people overcome judgments, built and restored trust levels, and delivered everyone to a common ground.
As a result, external complaints to the company dropped drastically, costs associated with the organization’s call center decreased dramatically, cost efficiency skyrocketed, employee morale improved and internal complaints went down. Its customer base also grew exponentially and it breached a gap for customer satisfaction that had previously hindered the organization.
Albeit brief, this is only one example, among many, where we have seen organizations use Instinctive Drives to stop negative assumptions and behaviors and drastically improve collaboration.
I encourage all leaders to take a look at their organization and consider these questions:
· Do you have a solid foundation of trust?
· Do colleagues understand each other’s personal and professional motivations?
· Do co-workers speak the same language?
· Is collaboration accelerating the business?
· Is collaboration a source of competitive advantage for your business?
If you’ve answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to start speaking the same language through I.D. As proven many times before, it will have a tremendous impact on any organization.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 December 2012 23:37|