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What does a Collaborative Team look like?
By Gill Tiney
You have been tasked with an amazing project, finally given the responsibility to make your idea come into being. This is so exciting and yet… what if the team don’t gel. What if they can’t get over their own ego, they squabble like school children and your idea, your beautiful project, fails because they were being,… well, they were simply being idiots. (polite description)
How can you get them to work collaboratively and more importantly for them to build on your ideas? How can you inspire and nurture this potential you have in front of you? The potential to create something amazing, something valuable for all. What will make you the leader to make it happen?
Well in our experience a great collaborative team is made up of people with the following attributes:
The Visionary – to build the picture
The Catalyst – to build the team
The Driver – to make it happen
The Strategist – to make a plan
The Technician- to develop the idea
The Tweaker – to make it better
The Salesman – to share with the world
The Multiplier – to build scale
The Monitor – to keep things moving
The Nurturer – to look after the team
The Financer – to make the numbers add up
The Finisher – to make it sparkle
You already have The Visionary – that’s you. Now in charge of a team, maybe not 12 strong, but all the roles can be covered. Maybe people take on more than one position. They also have to understand that right and wrong do not live in a collaborative team.
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They will also have to leave their ego at the door. Past success doesn’t count in a new project, you are all standing on the shoulders of giants, and Mr/Ms Cool will not create a collaborative space. YOU have to create a place where people are allowed to fail, where it is ok to come up with a ‘really stupid’ idea because that might just trigger a genius solution. You have to paint your vision and enrol your team into the possibility of what it can bring, for the company and for the team and to the individuals. Share the win/win/win.
Next, find The Catalyst they have the vision in mind and can build the appropriate team. Those with technical skills and natural talent that can be encouraged and grown are essential. The Catalyst not only spots the genius required and can spot it at a million paces they also inspire the team to ‘Click’ to enjoy each other’s company, to be aligned in values as well as the project in hand. The Catalyst builds the relationships and ignites the spark of collaboration.
The Driver is essential. How many times have you seen great ideas struggle and die for the want of someone to drive it forward? This person is your accountability buddy for the team. They ensure meetings are ended with action points, that previous action points are completed, integrity is upheld, people keep their word and living below the line with Excuses, Blame or Denial just isn’t an option. In short, The Driver delivers a professional team who bond even more because they aren’t watching or waiting for others to fail, they are simply delivering their genius for the benefit of the team. The Driver also has a sense of urgency, a brilliant project manager they have high standards of themselves and expect that of others.
Next is The Strategist bringing your vision into being. They map out the steps needed to bring it to fruition. A clean, simple step by step process to ensure everyone stays on task, with enough wiggle room for imagination, for people to go off-piste and stretch themselves, come out of their comfort zone but still within the safe boundaries of the laid out strategy which ensures a safe completion time.
Each member of your team will lean towards either left brain, analytical, detail-driven thinking or right brained, creative, people focused being. Collaboration is often considered easier for right-brained thinkers and feminine energy. That is not to say left brain masculine energy is not powerful and essential too. It is by bringing them together explaining the ‘rules of the game’ you build a collaborative dynamic team
We have already brought together a visionary, catalyst, driver and strategist into the team. With the right culture, agreed ‘rules of the game’ and time spent building mutual respect this small team could potentially do the job in hand. However, if this is a big project a larger group will be called for and some additional skills and talents will be welcome.
The Technician is the archetypal left-brain, detail-driven, product-focused person who can build the dream. They take the idea and put it into development. Being involved with the project they will be aligned with the person who comes along and tweaks the product to make it better. Like writing a book the author needs an editor to tweak the work and bring it to a standard where the Salesperson can get to grips with it. By selling it outside of the team the group will see how others perceive their idea and where more tweaks might be required. The Tweaker and Sales Person will work well together.
Overseeing the project is The Monitor who will be looking at progress, where improvements to the way the team work together can be made. Keeping the project on track, not from a command and control perspective, which limits creativity, but from a practical space, showing data to inform next steps, looking at budgets and feasibility, the Monitor keeps the project viable. Collaboration is known to bring projects in faster and cheaper than anticipated, but that is only when one of the collaborators has their finger on the pulse. They work closely with the person responsible for the budget The Financer (as opposed to the Financier). There are many people who have a beautiful relationship with money, they see it as a tool to be used and can make it work for them. Their role is to be creative with funds and they love finding creative ways to deliver what the team need alongside the restrictions of budgetary forces.
Throughout this project The Nurturer is ensuring that communication is flowing, the culture is upheld, egos are locked away and the space is one of inclusivity and creation. They are also responsible for seeing the project growing and everyone being valued and looked after. They also liaise with the Visionary to ensure the end result fits the original vision.
The Finisher has an opportunity of overseeing the final product and polishing the edges ready for launch or presentation. They spend time working with the whole team to ensure everyone’s brief is coming together in a collaboration that is bigger than the sum of its parts. Finally, The Multiplier, who has been part of the project from the beginning will have a clear idea of how they will be maximising the opportunities and scalability that this new collaboration brings.
Whilst these are clearly defined roles, it goes without saying that many collaborations will not fit with this model. Having an awareness of the roles and their purpose within the culture gives you a taster of what might be achieved.
Collaboration is not easy. Collaboration takes an empowered mindset, with a humble understanding of each other’s skills and talents. It has to be approached from a place of love and authenticity. Being able, to be honest about an idea, open about our misgivings and share concerns without fear of ridicule, is truly love in action. Mutual respect and acknowledging each other for great work as well as failed attempts build’ strong bonds.
Each person has to be aware of the context for their involvement, their reason for choosing to be there. That is your job as The Visionary to build the picture for them. Give them their reason WHY get their buy into the project and align their reason with the team. Get them all pulling in the same direction.
If you are part of a great collaborative team; where you feel free to express yourself, feel valued, loved, respected and where you enjoy your work then I believe that makes for an environment where work becomes play and people don’t know what time it is – they are having too much fun! And we all know that when work becomes fun you never have to ‘work’ a day in your life. True collaboration brings benefits on so many levels, not just the project at hand but also stronger relationships, shared skills, enhanced possibility for future collaborations and a satisfaction and pride in what has been achieved.
Wouldn’t you like to work in a collaborative team?
If you would like to share or discuss collaboration more fully you are welcome to attend either a BeCollaboration meeting
Or join the discussion at our online platform BeCollaboration Global