Simon Terry

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Collaboration is Work. Not Meetings

One reason many organisations are hesitant to embrace future of work collaboration practices is that they perceive collaboration as slow, cumbersome and ineffectual. What these organisations are doing is associating collaboration with the meetings that they run.

We collaborate every day. We just don’t call it that. People get together through the work day and work together. They share ideas, answer questions, solve problems together and create new innovative approaches to business.  People making things happen is collaboration.  This kind of collaboration is across a wide diversity of channels and runs from a quick hallway conversation to a design thinking workshop.

Future of work practices are about accelerating these valuable forms of collaboration. We can all do more to connect, share, solve and innovate. Collaboration like this is rapid, engaging, efficient, asynchronous and incredibly valuable. This kind of collaboration can be anywhere and happens only when needed. It makes business work better.

The erroneous perception of collaboration sounds like a bad meeting. Action must wait until we have collaborated. Our conversation will be purposeless. Accountabilities are unclear. We need to get everyone involved together, preferably in the one space. We must discuss everything and listen to everyone’s views. We will make decisions by consensus or perhaps not at all. There will be politics, confusion and much wasted time. Nothing meaningful will be learned, created or done by the process of collaboration.

That sounds like a bad meeting because it is one. Don’t frame collaboration as a meeting process.

When you want to embrace future of work practices in your organisation, don’t try to replicate your worst meetings. Multiply your best examples of people working effectively together.


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