The Key to Collaboration


There are two reasons people have a hard time collaborating: fear and ego. These reasons manifest into three hurdles to effective collaboration: not thinking the final outcome will be fair, not trusting the people in the group, or putting personal goals before the organization’s.

One way to overcome these problems is to use an us-centered approach. This means instead of focusing on fears and ego, try focusing on yours and others’ needs. It seems so simple yet so elusive – helping someone else get their needs met is hard to do because it could potentially mean we will lose, right? Not necessarily.

To get yours and the others’ needs met you have to listen. Listening is the only way you will have a strong understanding of what the other person wants from the conversation. Once you have a good handle on that information, you can find solutions that will meet both of your needs. Listening will allow you to collaborate – it will allow you to get what you need, and help the other person get what they need.

Further, during collaboration conversations, try using words like “we” and “let’s” instead of “you” and “me.” These words may be just semantics, but they’re enough to tell the other person, and remind you, that you are focused on the us, and not on the individual.