Collaboration on the Rebound

With Congress returning from its Thanksgiving break, it’s time for resolving issues related to the “fiscal cliff” and national debt. Critics ponder whether the divisiveness and acrimony can be overcome. Is there room in Washington for collaboration?

The Big Book of HR was written right outside “the Beltway” and collaboration was a key component in the process of writing "The Big Book of HR". The authors, both residents of Northern Virginia started this project, by looking at the proposed content and dividing the work along our areas of expertise. In other words, we took Marcus Buckingham's advice and built on our strengths.

We met weekly to check in and assess our respective progress. We recognized we worked differently and at different paces, and we stayed out of each others way. Our virtual assistant was proofing our work along the way, but it wasn't until the final manuscript was being prepared for editing that we read each others' work. We were both excited at how it all came together. After publication, we joked that we were still talking to each other.

Barbara and I were good friends and colleagues before and had worked on smaller projects together. Writing a book is a major endeavor. To succeed we had to trust and respect each other’s knowledge, expertise and work styles. Our end result was not just a great book that we are proud of, but a renewed appreciation for the other. We genuinely enjoyed working with each other, even during the stressful points in the process. We are a team.

Are teams in your organization collaborating? The key to collaboration is being inclusive, getting rid of the noise, and being mindful, thoughtful and purposeful.

Inclusive teams

r Have structured opportunities for sharing

r Have ways to increase team members’ understanding about differences

r Have opportunities to teach each other

r Are flexible regarding differing needs and preferences

r Remove the noise by eliminating barriers to communication and being mindful of the lenses and filters that distort messages

r Establish ground rules

r Explain unwritten rules to new members

r Value differences

r Work toward mutually satisfying resolutions to conflict

r Honor time limits

r Assure that everyone participates and no one dominates

r Listen as allies

r Celebrate small successes

r Are considerate and respect time and each other

Over the coming months we will continue to introduce you to our collaborators. We will be featuring our colleagues who contributed to The Big Book of HR on our blog. Please visit them and post your comments. Don’t forget to follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

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Managing people is the most challenging part of any leader's day. And that job certainly is not getting any easier. The Big Book of HR will provide any HR professional, manager, or business owner of any size organization the information they need to get the most from their talent. It is filled with information on everything from the most strategic HR-related issues to the smallest tactical detail of how to manage people.