8 Secrets to Creating a Collaborative Culture

I’ve never met someone who would admit to preferring drama over collaboration. And yet, most cultures have too much drama, too little collaboration. What’s up with that?

This weekend we stayed in a beach house in Nags Head with my sister, and 28 of her closest friends (most of whom we had never met) to run the Outer Banks Southern Fried racing weekend. The kids ran the 5K and the grown-ups ran the 1/2 marathon.

We’ve been here since Thursday night, as of this writing (Sunday at 7:57 pm), there’s been zero drama and no fistacuffs (did I mention there are 14 boys between the ages of 10-16?)

The leadership anthropologist in me is fascinated by this dynamic. So here’s what I’ve observed from this incubator of positive collaboration.

8 Secrets to Creating a Collaborative Culture

connector (1)Got collaboration issues? Try nurturing a few of these elements.

  1. Respect–For The “Other Team’s” Goals and Objectives
    Every family came with a gaggle of  objectives. Some wanted a breath to connect. Some ready to run their personal best. Some were marathoning virgins, just trying to finish. We all put it out there in one way or another, and we all cheered on.
  2.  Norms–Big Rules are Discussed, Respected and Upheld
    Some were easy, “No kid goes to the beach without a grown-up.” But who goes to the PG13 movie is a heck of a lot trickier when the village is involved.
  3. Patience– No Child (or Grown-Up) Left Behind
    Herding 29 took longer. We had to breathe.
  4. Humor–We’re Laughing With You, Not At You (okay, okay, maybe a few times at you, but it’s all in good fun)
    I promised not to say more, to protect the innocent.
  5. Branding–The Power of Being Part of Something Biggershirts
    We branded our team with a great orange tee-shirt. We were easy to spot. The best part was when we got pulled in with the locals to staff the 5K finish–apparently they needed some friendlies, and that was our brand. Apparently our kids weren’t at all surprised to see us at the end of the race handing out medals and bananas. #thatsawin
  6. Rituals-Creating and Respecting
    We had a 16th birthday, a Baptismal anniversary, some firsts, and some other commotion. Some good, some tricky, all shared.
  7. Skills–Knowing What You’re Good at and Bringing All Your Gifts to the Party
    The cooks cooked, the cleaners cleaned, the creatives made a party, the singers got the birthday celebration on key. My husband cooked. #miracle. No one asked about their role, they just stepped up.
  8. Boundaries–Letting Go of Your Have to-Haves, and Hanging On To Your Must Dos
    Every team had a room. If your door was shut, the communal game was off, except for my sister (during my after-run nap) when she was on the wrong floor, thinking it was her room.

Collaboration takes energy and effort. Let go to grow fast.

P.S. The Connector Role is part of my 7 Roles Every Manager Must Master Model. Want to learn more? Contact me at karin.hurt@letsgrowleaders.com to set up a demo of my new online course.

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Posted in Results & Execution and tagged , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

4 Comments

  1. Sounds like an amazing weekend Karin! I think you set up great ground rules and ways to effectively connect with each other. In the workplace, it is also important to be clear, caring and respectful of one another.

    Thanks Karin for sharing!

  2. Great list Karin. I like #1 a lot, Respect–For The “Other Team’s” Goals and Objectives.

    If you can afford to be generous in spirit, why not?
    It will certainly leave a positive emotional mark on those receiving your respect.

    • Dallas, I love the way you articulated that “if you can afford to be generous in spirt, why not?” Amen. I hope things are going well for you .

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