Basic web 2.0 allows us transparency, a window into another’s life. Multiplied over many people, web 2.0 helps them connect with each other and strengthen an existing or emerging social network. Providing these connections is helpful, but it isn’t collaboration. True collaboration is more than just getting along. It’s working together towards a common goal. Unfortunately, in this world of competitive achievers, it’s hard to find someone who really knows how to collaborate.
Like many other things, collaboration is an orientation as well as a set of skills. Deciding to be more intentional about collaborating is a good first step, but it takes more than that. According to Shawn Callahan at Anecdote, there are seven critical personal skills necessary for effective collaboration:
- “How to apologise
- How to advocate your point of view without harming your collaborator’s feelings
- How to spot when a conversation gets emotional and then make it safe again to continue meaningful dialogue
- How to listen and get into the shoes of your collaborator
- How to define a mutual intent that will inspire action
- How to tell and elicit stories
- How to get things done so you have something to show for your collaboration”
Based on this list, collaboration requires more than mere technical knowledge. It requires drawing on sometimes dormant interpersonal relationship skills — listening, empathy, consideration, etc. These are skills that have been undervalued within businesses for far too long.
So take a close look at this list of necessary skills and then take a closer look at yourself. Do you have what it takes to collaborate?