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.

How to Be a Talent Magnet

Magnets have a powerful, yet invisible force of attraction. Talent magnets have a similiar impact as they attract and retain A players, who then attract more talent. Notice I didn’t entitle this article, How to Build a Talent Empire, which is much less subtle and far less effective.

I’ve built a career based on attracting people way smarter than me to do the things I couldn’t possibly do. Liz Wiseman calls this approach, being a talent magnet in her book Multipliers. I call it common sense, or perhaps heredity. My dad carries the same jump-into-things-you-know-nothing-about gene.

The 4 Practices of the Talent Magnet

“Empire builders seek to surround themselves with “A” players. But unlike talent magnets, they accumulate talent to appear smarter and more powerful. The leader glosses over the real genius of the people while placing them into boxes on the org chart. The players have limited impact and start to look more like A- or B+”
~ Lis Wiseman, Author of Multipliers

Liz Wiseman’s research found four common practices among talent magnets:
  1. Look For Talent Everywhere – My favorite part of this context is ignore the boundaries.. They’re less inclined to look for traditional qualifications than looking for the right cocktail of talents just right for that role.
  2. Find People’s Native Genius – Liz explains: “A native genius is something that people do, not only exceptionally well, but absolutely naturally. They do it easily, without extra effort and freely, without condition”. Tap into that.
  3. Utilize People To Their Fullest – This is all about connecting people to the right opportunities and shining the spotlight on them when it’s time.
  4. Remove The Blockers – A players have a low tolerance for BS. Talent magnets get that, and do their best to move the stupid stuff out-of-the-way, so the native genius can get to work.

I had an opportunity to talk with Rob Delange, Director of Training of the Multiplier Group about my approach to building talent magnets…

Rob also asked what I was most proud of in my career at Verizon. No contest: watching people grow…