Collaboration: just leave the egos out of the room

A close up shot down the shaft of an arrow to a target. The flights of the arrow are in focus, the target is blurred.Three things in a row have just proved the same thing to me – you take the ego out of the equation, and collaborations spring forwards in huge giant leaps, covering ground so fast it makes you breathless.

Can you suggest an idea, or concept or area of exploration and then be prepared to let go of where you thought it might be going in order to truly hear and respond to the suggested directions of others? Can you resist that golum-like temptation to keep hissing ‘mine‘ whilst wrapping your hands so tightly around an initial idea that it becomes strangled? 

I remember a presentation I watched last year that made me uncomfortable. It equated having and delivering an idea with shooting an arrow. The author stated that it was your idea and you had to keep it true and its pathway clear. It was your job to fend off the perspectives of others so that it stayed on track.

For some people this may work – it may indeed be how they create work, run processes, undertake research.

It’s not me. It doesn’t work for me.

I don’t want to go off target, but I do want other forces to come into play, to help make both the arrow and its destination better, to make its impact greater.

And the only way to do it is to drop the ego. Drop the ‘I know best’. Drop the expertise (which many of us think we are faking anyway).

Then you can start to collaborate. Bullseye.

Photo by TheMarqueand remember if you have enjoyed this and want to read more, you can subscribe to Jo Verrent’s blog by email.

One thought on “Collaboration: just leave the egos out of the room

  1. So true Jo.

    I once participated in a workshop which was advocating the “loudest voice wins” approach – theory being that you all argue your point until all agree with your viewpoint and that the conflict has evidenced that the strongest idea has rightly won the day! Seems like a vague possibility untill you realise that you may have won the debate but are now alone in the room.

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