Category Archives: trust

The Courage to Collaborate [FRI 4/26 CBODN 2013 Conference, Arlington VA]

The Courage to Collaborate

Join the conversation: Friday April 26th 1p at GMU Founder’s Hall, Arlington VA

Organizations in the 21st century have grown increasingly risk averse, causing many people inside them to take a defensive view of the world.

Small wonder that collaboration – the open exchange of ideas in an effort to solve problems – has a grown increasingly difficult.  More and more we hear about collaboration and it’s benefits, via sage advice from outsiders and edicts from above.  But there’s a simple question facing us.  It often goes unasked and stays unanswered.

Do we have the courage to collaborate?

On Friday April 26th, at the Chesapeake Bay OD Network (CBODN) 2013 Annual Conference, from 1-2:15 pm, James Alexandar and I are taking on this topic.  The conference theme is “Courageous Leadership” and it explores how OD practitioners must challenge what we think we know about achieving success in the 21st century organization.

I’m Chris Jones, @sourcepov from Twitter, and I’ll be heading up from Charlotte to join in the conversation.

James and I will explore a variety of the key elements in the equation, but ultimately we’ll focus in on Culture, lack of Trust and Fear.  These elements invariably shape and constrain behaviors in today’s organizations, in spite of efforts in the opposite direction.  Most of the time, the odds seem stacked against us.  The ability to take on the challenges requires an immense amount of courage.  Success requires leaders who are willing and able to release their death grip on control.  The discussion on Friday will explore some core precepts of OD, then tackle the implications of key barriers.  Then we’ll share some very specific insights on how collaboration accelerates in a high-trust, low-fear workplace, giving participants hands on experience with collaboration in an open exchange.  We’ll navigate from a “risk averse” mindset to a “risk-enabled” one, tapping ideas from my book The DNA of Collaboration: Unlocking the Potential of 21st Century Teams.

Continue reading


Collaboration DNA: Can there be a Trusting Organization? (Ch.12)

In our fast-paced world, it’s hard to focus on our deep inner purpose and values, and even harder to act consistently on them. It’s so easy to act (or better said, react) in the moment. Yet gauging whether a person’s actions align with intentions is a key factor in deciding whether to  trust them. Set all that in motion. Watch the world rushing past on an average day.

Who can you trust?

The ability to trust in the 21st-Century is constrained. There just isn’t enough time or information to make good trust decisions. So we learn to trust less, we grow more insular, sometimes cynical.

But it gets worse. In the organizational context, the situation compounds. Take the basic trust problem that exists among individuals, and do the math.

Is it possible to build a trusting organization?

This is an area that is chock full of lip service and aphorisms. We seek to belong. We desire connection. So who doesn’t seek a place where they can trust and be trusted? We’re quick to say we want it. Yet the contributing factors are lost on so many of us, especially in the day to day. Stephen M.R. Covey’s Speed of Trust offers an excellent frame, but how much of that thinking do we actually bring to our relationships? How can these principles be applied in the workplace?

Let’s unpack this topic with the following 4 questions:

  • Q1. In the fast paced 21st-C organization, how do you decide who to trust?
  • Q2. Are “cultures of trust” real or imagined?
  • Q3. Respect is key in the trust equation, but why? How do healthy boundaries factor in?
  • Q4. Communicating intent implies knowing intent. How do we build/retain clear intention amid complexities of organizational life?

Clearly, this discussion builds on all aspects of Intention (Ch.4) which we discussed here several weeks back. It also relates to a great #bealeader [transcript] conversation this week, where the focus was on integrity.  If we seek to be more effective collaborators … or leaders … this topic needs more focus than it gets.

Trust me. Or, better still, challenge me: am I acting on my intent to see if trust is possible?  

Real change always starts with awareness.  We need to see ourselves in the problem … then reflect on it, discuss it among our trusted colleagues … then the true learning begins, as we let the insights flow.

See you online.

Chris Jones, author The DNA of Collaboration (now on Amazon) .. aka @sourcepov


Collaboration DNA: The Dilemma of Culture (Ch.10)

CHARLOTTE, NC. By CDNA author

For organizations that seek change, few factors are more important than creating the right culture. Lou Gerstner said it was the main issue in the transformation of IBM from hardware to services.

The challenge is that few understand what it is, or how it works.

It can be hard to define, because it works in subtle ways. It shapes the behaviors of people in an organization, but it is also shaped by them, in a two-directional flow of influence. It reflects how people in the organization have come to view success, over time. Executives can try to shape it, but without significant investment in the effort, surface attempts to force change routinely fail.

I’ve covered these dynamics in Chapter 10 of The DNA of Collaboration, based on research I started in 2010 on this fascinating topic, recounted in my original 8-part blog series.

Today, let’s attack 5 of the main dynamics that the most important to understand:

  • Q1. How can we navigate the complex layers of Org Culture, eg. professional, hierarchy, generational, demographic?
  • Q2. Which Org Culture model do you see most: Control, Silo, or Network? Can they coexist?
  • Q3. What happens in Cultures where contrarians rule? 
  • Q4. Can Organizations have a Culture of trust? If so, how?
  • Q5. Can employees make a difference  and influence change?

We could go on for days on these topics, and perhaps we need to. These are the complex problems that motivated my research, that over time turned into the book. I kept seeing dysfunctional behaviors in organizations large and small, and set out to discover what what happening.

It’s not just about culture, of course. But culture is where so many of the issues surface, on a scale that’s maddeningly difficult to influence. Ask Lou Gerstner. Ask your CEO. Ask yourself. Is the culture of your organization empowering it’s employees for success?  Is there something employees can do about it?

Looking forward to our chat.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46 other followers