Tag Archives: semantics

Would You Recognize a Collaborative Leader?

What happens when nobody stands out from the crowd?

What happens when nobody stands out from the crowd?

Great leaders can be found in many places and many companies. Some of have spent careers fine tuning their portfolio of interpersonal skills so that they’ll be effective when the going gets tough. But let’s face it. Knowing where to turn for unique leadership skills can be a challenge.

It’s often difficult to find “the real thing” among a crowded field of would-be originals.

To shed some new light on what it means to be a collaborative leader, let’s ask a few questions to help bring the seach into better focus.  For starters, let’s take a look at the foundational semantics, and some of the critical dynamics that we think are important in this space.
  • Q1. Skills. What are the key skills that a collaborative leader must possess?
  • Q2. Styles. In “Primal Leadership” (2002), Goleman calls for adopting  1 of 6 styles: visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pace setting, commanding. Which apply here?
  • Q3. Behaviors. How can we recognize a collaborative leader from among others who are less collaborative?
  • Q4. Mindset. How can leaders adopt a collaborative mindset?

As we review the complex and evolving Team Dynamics (Ch.15) in The DNA of Collaboration, again and again we find leaders must play key roles to guide organizations through collaborative processes.  This discussion is a starting point for more to follow.

We look forward to your insight on this important thread.

Chris Jones @sourcepov


Synthesis in the Collaborative Flow: Why Process Matters (Ch.16)

As we move toward team dynamics that are based less on structure and more on flow, we face a dilemma. We gain the benefit of new thinking, serendipity and emerging ideas, but isn’t there danger that we lose focus?

The short answer is yes.

We must explore the need for balance points. We’ll also need a flexible lightweight process that allows us to navigate the challenges we’ll encounter. In my experience there are several ways we can enable the benefits of collaborative flow without losing our way. In today’s Book Review topic, as we explore The DNA of Collaboration Chapter 16 on Process, let’s take apart some of the most important contributing factors:

  • Step 1. Framing. We need enough structure to support a dialog, but space for it to evolve. How can we shift our facilitation thinking away from control?
  • Step 2. Guidelines & Introductions. Who is here? Why? How is this going to work?
  • Step 3. Context. We often plow into collaboration w/o thought to relevance. What are the challenges of changing context in real time, during the conversation? When should context be set? held? changed?
  • Step 4. Brainstorm & Dialog. How will we interact?
  • Step 5. Patterns. Looking for Patterns is like “mining for gold”. What practices can make this easier, more intuitive, more common?
  • Step 6. Synthesis. Aka “curation,” it’s about capture, prioritization of outcomes, and teasing out the value. Why is this so difficult? How can we get better at it?

Many who participate in the most established Twitter Chats will notice some of these elements. I believe they have evolved into their current form due to social collaboration in action. In fact, we continue to explore these dynamics at #smchat (social media), #ecosys (k12 edreform) and of course here at #cdna (collaboration practice).

Share your thoughts. Which aspects of these steps resonate? Which of these do you use most frequently?

Looking forward to our conversation. See you online.

Chris aka @sourcepov


Collaboration DNA: A Choice of Words (Ch.5)

When we collaborate, words are not only the currency of the ideas we share, they also form boundaries of what we’re able to learn and know.  

Words literally define our possibilities.

Regardless of our education or level of expertise, most of us are guilty of being careless with our semantics.  We speak without thinking, letting our scattered, ill-defined notions fall where they may. Ludwig Wittgenstein once called it the most fundamental problem in the great, century-old debates of philosophy and science.

As outlined in Chapter 5 of The DNA of Collaboration, failure to take care in choosing and defining our words can spell disaster for collaborative efforts.  Let’s unpack the topic by reflecting on five of the main ideas covered in this chapter.  Relevant authors noted.

  • Q1. To what extent are learning & knowledge constrained by the vocabulary and semantic choices of collaborators? #bohm #senge
  • Q2. What happens when we fail to choose our words carefully? #wittgenstein
  • Q3. Does rich & colorful language help us or hurt us when collaborating? When is semantic precision a better choice? #lakoff
  • Q4. “When we define common terms we create common ground” Have you used solution language in practice to build buy-in?
  • Q5. Like an iceberg, many of the implications of our words hide beneath the surface of what’s actually said. Is this to our advantage?

This will be the 2nd edition of our Virtual Book Tour.  I hope you can join us Saturday, 8/11, at 11 a.m. EDT.  If it’s anything like last week’s chat there will be a great exchange.  You’ll find our agenda for future sessions and transcripts from prior sessions at http://bit.ly/cdnaVBT

Thanks for your interest in the book, the topic, and the conversation.  I hope to see you there!

- Chris Jones aka @sourcepov, author The DNA of Collaboration


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