We speak about collaboration and bemoan the fact that our teams aren’t using it, but do we actually want collaboration ? Without it we can’t get work to flow inside or across teams … but what does it actually take ?

I got this idea from a truly Agile servant leader, Jaimie Moodley, during one of my Leading Agile for Flow using Servant Leadership workshops. We are practicing the behaviors that create flow and to do that, we practice scenarios. The one scenario is that each party needs to get 80% of the budget. Sound familiar ?

One of the most common outcomes is to both lose with a 50:50 solution. Neither party has what they want, both have lost but both are happy with that…. so long as not have lost. What Jaimie pointed out was just that… how no-one is willing to let the other person win. Interesting!

What is it about our cultures that teaches us that cooperating is loosing and so we will only cooperate if we are all loosing equally. When last did you allow the other person to get what they needed ? 

This is the 80:20 principle of collaboration. When we are focused on an agreed common goal then it is easy to support others in achieving their goals because it is no longer about loosing, even when we don’t get what we need. We inherently know that what we need or wanted wasn’t as important so gladly support the more important objective.

This is what Agility looks like when it is working and work is flowing. What would it take for you to create it ? What mindset do you need to highlight and work with ? And perhaps most importantly, what about the process and system do you need to start engaging with so that you can create the space that collaboration really needs ?