Saying “collaboration is good but not quite natural” is a very common word in companies today. Managers and employees know that’s a valuable attitude, but it’s still very hard to make people collaborate, share and work together. I’ve been told so often that “collaboration is not a natural thing and it’s difficult to bring it into business” thatI tought I was true. But at this time I’m not convinced anymore. In fact, even if I don’t deny that “it’s difficult” I’m nearly sure that it’s natural.
An appropriate formulation would be “collaborating is natural but it’s hard to bring it into business”.
If you think about your everyday life, what do you do. Help your children doing their homework, give your friends pieces of advices and tips, help your wife to serve the dinner…and most of that without any direct reward.
Why? Perharps because you know if you help someone once, there’s a lot of chance he’ll help you tomorrow, because a piece of advice costs nothing, because you’re polite, because human beings are social beings…
It’s also a fact that the most directive manager, the most narrow minded guy at work is, most of the times, a very nice person outside.
If people were at work as they’re at home we would not be talking about “how to bring collaboration in organization” because collaboration would be a common thing.
In fact we all stop being collaborative at the time we walk throught our office door.
That’s why I said collaboration is natural. The consequence is, if we want to make people collaborate, share, work together we have to ask ourselves why work make they (and us too) be so different. And, as a final point, what to bring into companies management and human context to down thoses virtual fences.
Considering things this way, we should realize that sometimes we don’t have to teach people how to collaborate but make them feel a different context in which collaboration is natural. Big stake isn’t it?