Effective collaboration is challenging to say the least. As collaborators we often want to reach consensus with all participants before moving forward or we focus on driving a personal agenda and lose sight of the primary goal. Ultimately, we collaborate to make the best decision with the information and expertise available in order to reach toward a goal. In other words, there must be a result when collaborating. To reach a result, we must know what we're striving to do with a clear, concise and attainable goal that aligns people together. There must be some time boundaries to keep people focused on how best to reach the goal and on making progress. Finally, there needs to be responsibility and accountability for the decision that's being collaborated on.
In my previous post I talked about The Wisdom Hierarchy For Collaboration in which I used a somewhat goofy example of how different people may react to a potential situation based on the stages of the DIKW hierarchy. It led me to think about what goes into effective collaboration, what the stages are, and how to represent them. The figure below is my attempt at defining and displaying the stages of highly effective collaboration and I look forward to feedback.
For the purposes of discussion, I'm assuming the goal has already been defined and those accountable for reaching the goal designated. Let's look deeper into the seven stages of highly effective collaboration:
Collaboration is an activity. The compilation and sharing of information and expertise to drive toward a common objective. Communications is how people and devices collaborate. As you go through the different stages of effective collaboration different communication tools will be required. The easiest would be a meeting room with recording capabilities and everybody able to attend in person. However, in the environment of business today, office locations are dispersed, mobile and home office workers are on the rise and expertise may be found outside the enterprise. Consider the requirements users in a collaborative environment will have in terms of devices, applications and capabilities available to them. Provide a workspace built upon an architectural foundation that supports open standards and interoperability, together with a set of shared services and state of the art applications that provide a consistent and superior collaboration experience regardless of device, content, location, or interaction style.
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