Getting Collaboration Right

Getting Collaboration Right  Your group didn’t get a report in on time and you need to figure out what caused the lack of collaboration. You want to challenge the assumption that the most important thing is getting along. Raising the issue with Megan and Jean won’t be an easy conversation but it’s necessary. Challenging the lack of collaboration YOU: So, guys, I wanted to talk about the report not going out last week. Expect avoidance Jean: But it went the Tuesday after so no harm done. YOU:  I’d like to discuss why it didn’t go on Friday. Expect sniping Megan: (undertone) Because the data weren’t there. Jean: I heard that! YOU: Let’s stick to the issue. Jean, you didn’t get the data to Megan on Wednesday. Why? Jean: I wanted to make it right. YOU: Megan needed it. Expect defensiveness Jean: Crummy research can’t go out! YOU: But what could you have done? Jean: Huh? Suggest solutions the first time YOU: Why not tell Megan you were going to be late? Jean: She knew when it didn’t arrive. Megan:  I needed a heads up. Jean: Wouldn’t have made a difference. YOU: But you two might have worked something to meet…

Teamwork Gone Wrong
Dark Side for Employees / August 20, 2018

Teamwork Gone Wrong What happened? In the last post, you returned after a week off to find that an important report hadn’t gone out. You thought you could have counted on Megan for her teamwork. You need to talk to her. Talk to Megan After discussions about the state of your father’s health, you get down to brass tacks. You Skype her. YOU: I was disappointed the report wasn’t finished on time. Megan: I sent you what I could. I didn’t have all the data. YOU: Did you bug Jean? She’s not great about deadlines. Megan: Every day. Wednesday, she said she’d do it but it didn’t come in time. YOU: Why didn’t you call me? Megan: I didn’t want to bother you. After all, your father and all. YOU: You could have left a message. Megan: I guess so. YOU: Come on, Megan, what’s really going on? Megan: (sigh) Jean’s a nice person, I didn’t want to get her into trouble. YOU: But that meant we didn’t meet our deadline. Megan: Well, I knew it would be better for you to talk to her as you’re the boss. Why didn’t Megan call you? Here is an example of where…

Getting Along Can Do You In—The Need for Harmony

Getting Along Can Do You In—The Need for Harmony The need for harmony Having harmony in your working life is a good thing, as is a harmonious personal life. It is stressful, unpleasant, and even injurious to your health to work in tension or conflict. A group which gets along is usually more productive. However, the need for harmony can sometimes be so overwhelming that everything else goes out the window—such as being innovative, avoiding failure, or telling the truth. Let’s use the example below to explore this. Missing data The executive group reviews the strategic plan annually. You supervise putting together the report. You research trends, gather data, and model different scenarios for the plan. Your meeting with Jean, your employee You: Jean, have you seen how Megan’s company did their report? I like it. I think we should use it this year. Jean: Hey, we took over Megan’s company. She should do it our way. You: We should use what’s best from both. Jean: (Silence) You: Anyhow, because Megan is with us, we can spread out the work. Jean: She’s three hours behind us. It’ll be impossible to work together. You: There’s a way it might. You like…

Harmony through Silence

Harmony through Silence An option is always to keep your head down when the big guns of conflict come out. Sometimes it’s a good idea and sometimes not. Let’s talk about this possibility. Why it’s a bad idea You wouldn’t be representing your group well. A potentially good idea will get lost. A sub-optimal solution might be adopted. You might be wimping out by not speaking up. It’s good for the company The reasons above are about the company. That is, if you speak up, the company benefits by getting closer to the right solution. Even the last one fits. You’re wimping out by not helping the company be its best. The organization is usually better off if knowledgeable people occasionally ruffle feathers. But is it good for you? Depends. Depends on how you feel about the issue under discussion. I care deeply. Meaning, it is related to your own values and ethics. Not speaking up will do your sense of self-worth damage. I don’t care. E.g. a change with no impact, or any solution works for you. You might want some visibility by speaking, but if your comments are seen as disturbing the peace, you might want to back…

Benefiting from the Need for Harmony

Benefiting from the Need for Harmony In the last post, you attempted to table a proposal but were left hung out to dry. You hadn’t realized that the need for harmony trumped support for a good idea. Are you doomed to let Tod run the show? Not necessarily. You can be aware, respect, and even use the need for harmony. Let’s rewind and redo the meeting. The second meeting (reprise) YOU: I’d like to table my proposal. Tod: We have to deal with Finance’s first. YOU: How about hearing mine so we can compare? (turns to group) Who’s for that? Show of hands. (all hands go up) Tod: (grumpily) Fine. Let’s get it over with. Using the need for harmony Okay, very clever. You used the need for harmony to move your agenda forward by: Sidestepping a direct confrontation. Last time, you went head-to-head with Tod, disturbing the need for harmony and making everyone uncomfortable. They punished you by silence when you needed them to speak. Asking the group for something minor and non-verbal. In addition, rather than asking them to speak and risk Tod’s sharp tongue, you just asked for a show of hands.  Much easier, especially if you…