No matter how hard we work on the skills for collaboration, there are times when are our intended efforts are hi-jacked. Deep in our mental circuitry are safety mechanisms that can trigger with little notice, influencing our behavior and what we say.
When this happens, we lose our collaborative edge.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most common triggers, to surface some working examples. It will help if we can bring these formidable forces top of mind:
- Q1. Heuristics like “go with the flow” are mental shortcuts; what are more examples? when might they trigger?
- Q2. Instincts keep us safe, but learning and collaboration require risks. How do our survival instincts impact our engagement?
- Q3. The Emotion of Fear is perhaps the greatest negative influence on collaborators. What exactly are we afraid of?
- Q4. Margaret Wheatley said: “Fear of Error seems to be the darkest of Darwinian shadows” .. can we guard against this thinking?
While many of these subconscious mechanisms lie beyond our direct control, being aware of them gives our thinking selves the chance to call time out when our animal instincts trigger in non-productive ways. fMRI (magnetic brain imaging) is helping us understand this better.
I discuss these dynamics in The DNA of Collaboration, Chapter 9.
Instincts can be critical triggers. But when we fear loss of acceptance or fear our survival is threatened, our ability to collaborate is compromised.
Think about the implications. Would love your feedback.
- Chris Jones @sourcepov, author