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
- 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.
- 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.
- Patience– No Child (or Grown-Up) Left Behind
Herding 29 took longer. We had to breathe.
- 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.
- Branding–The Power of Being Part of Something Bigger
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
- Rituals-Creating and Respecting
We had a 16th birthday, a Baptismal anniversary, some firsts, and some other commotion. Some good, some tricky, all shared.
- 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.
- 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 email@example.com to set up a demo of my new online course.