6 reasons why collaboration doesn’t work…
Why we need to redefine how we collaborate to avoid employee burnout and drive success.
Why do we collaborate?
The main reasons individuals and organisations collaborate are to help save time, money and resources. This is great in principle but to be frank – it isn’t working.
A lot of people we come in contact with, whether they’re clients, stakeholders or friends, say how overwhelmed and overworked they are. They’re so busy collaborating and attending meetings, their day-to-day work is pushed to the side. They then have to work nights and weekends to keep up. Sound familiar?
The fundamental core of any successful marketing campaign is understanding people’s needs. You need to be able to connect with people in a way that is authentic, to empathise. Empathy is really hard if you are feeling disconnected from yourself and colleagues. After all, collaboration is all about connection. But to connect, sometimes we need to disconnect – and that could mean disconnecting from collaborating!
Here are the 6 reasons why collaboration doesn’t work for a lot of organisations.
1. Information overload
The amount of transactional information and data we get on a daily basis is overwhelming. Social media for example. Did you know the average person scrolls the length of the Eiffel Tower a fortnight looking at social threads? Then there are answering emails. Travelling to meetings. This is particularly painful in regional areas due to the vast distances we need to travel.
2. Collaboration fatigue
What we are facing, globally, not just regionally is collaboration fatigue and overload.
According to the Harvard Business Review, over the past two decades, the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50% or more.
Research of 300 organisations show up to a third of value-added collaborations come from only 3% to 5% of employees.
3. Extra miler
As you become known for your excellent abilities to be a team player and to lead and collaborate, more demands are put on you.
Ning Li, from the University of Iowa, calls these types the “extra milers”.
The problem is, this cycle can quickly turn vicious. It creates a bottleneck and eventually, your efforts go unnoticed. Suddenly, you feel like nothing you do is good enough. So you try harder, you do more, it’s never enough. Guess what ladies? We’re the worst offenders as it is our natural default position to keep giving to the community.
4. Divergence from true purpose
I have a question for you. Do you feel like you are truly serving the people you are meant to be serving to the extent you want, or they deserve? Or are you too bogged down in bureaucratic red-tape, ministerial, stakeholder and reporting obligations? How much time are you really spending directly serving and helping the people you have set out to help?
How does that make you feel?
So what happens when we aren’t fulfilling our purpose? We end up resenting collaboration. Be honest, you secretly roll your eyes when you hear the word. It can feel at times it isn’t getting us anywhere…
6. Burn out
It can lead to a point where you have no more to give.
The dangerous spiral effect that collaboration has is it appears you’re doing a lot. You are busy because you are going around and ‘doing’. But, it’s an illusion. You are spinning but you aren’t drilling down and you aren’t going up – you aren’t going anywhere, you are just making the hole bigger and messier.
Collaboration fixes: Our simple steps to turn your business around
We are definitely NOT saying collaboration doesn’t work, but we need to do it differently. Here’s how.
1. Learn the art of being alone
The truth is about being a leader and collaboration – if you want others to follow, you need to learn to be alone with your thoughts. This art has been lost in organisations.
You see, teams are composed of individuals collectively contributing to team success. To work with others, we must be able to work with ourselves without conflict. To do that, we first must know how to identify the root cause of the conflict and its effects. Right down to the individual level. Not any other individual. You.
2. Stop being a lazy blamer
There is a history of laziness and blaming that destroys community and any chance of successful collaboration. And you know what? We are all to blame. We have ALL done it. We have all blamed circumstances. We blame not having enough support, not enough money, not enough time… but you know what? They are just excuses…
3. Unlearn collaboration
You see, we need to unlearn what collaboration means. We need to STOP how we are doing it and start making different choices.
4. Think alone together… Blue Clay’s solution
We are now opening up places within Blue Clay’s online supported incubator of top-level thinkers and leaders to think alone, together.
Sounds wacky? Let us explain our journey around the labyrinth:
Blue Clay’s company logo is a labyrinth. A labyrinth is a path. It has one way in, and one way out. It is NOT a maze where you have to think about which turn to take. It is a journey that provides the opportunity for space and thinking. Traditionally it was used for prayer and meditation. It is alone time to gather your thoughts and breathe.
When you get to the middle, you pause. You reflect on your journey in, and you don’t start your journey out until you have the strength and clarity.
The journey out is where the answers come. The way out unfolds, and it is clear.
We have created a 13-week pilot program of like-minded passionate leaders to walk the labyrinth. To be alone together. Your journey will be supported by a team of senior marketing executives, stakeholder engagement professionals and business development teams. This is about going back a step so we can have space to review and reflect.
On the way into the labyrinth we will learn the above steps PLUS…
- Conduct a root cause analysis at an individual level
- Identify needs & values – review your current marketing and organisational blocks
- Review the TRUE needs of you and your audience
- Critical thinking supported
- Listen and be heard
- Be challenged &
- Be held accountable – no more excuses or blaming. It’s time to get real
On the way out:
- Put one foot in front of the other – walk the journey together
- Explore how to build capacity and leverage around marketing and digital comms
- Create a NEEDS strategy
- Provide management and marketing tools to clearly, concisely connect
- Explore opportunities for further collaboration – TOGETHER. As individuals
- This = actionable insight