Tag Archives: #cdna

It’s Your Move: Finding Balance in the Collaborative Flow (Ch.17)

In the game of chess, every move brings important decisions. Is it best to advance, and stake a claim to new ground? Or to retreat, consolidating gains? Taking the lead, or letting the person across the game board set the pace?

Collaboration is fraught with decisions like these, where we must decide how to engage, and then revisit those decisions again and again, making adjustments.

Much depends, of course on our intentions and the context of the situation at hand. Are we there to share and inform, or to learn? Ultimately, isn’t it some of both?

In the context of effective team dynamics, I believe we need a balanced strategy, finding the optimal place between extremes, sharing and learning in useful ways. It’s about letting the circumstance of your knowledge, the topic, and the chemistry of the group tap new, “emergent” possibilities.

As we continue to explore the dynamics of effective collaboration in The DNA of Collaboration, “Balanced Objectives” (Ch.17) asks us to consider the importance of a balanced approach, and to understand how to get there.

In our chat SAT Nov 17 11aET (click here to join), let’s unpack it like this:

  • Q1. Explore the shifting dynamic of teacher v. learner in a collaborative context.
  • Q2. As in chess, collaborators balance opportunities to advance v. consolidating gains. Can we switch often and be productive?
  • Q3. To achieve collaborative balance, must our roles keep shifting between leading and following?
  • Q4. Is there an optimal balance between structured process and a more open, creative flow?

Hope this helps bring the balancing act of collaboration a bit more into focus. It’s critical thinking at the micro level, making decisions in the moment. When it comes to solving problems in teams, paying attention to dynamics like these pays huge rewards.

Challenge me with your thoughts and ideas .. we’re all here to learn!  I’ll see you online!

– Chris Jones, author, aka @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


Can Leaders Adapt? Improving Team Dynamics (Ch.15)

In a world where many if not most leaders cut their teeth as managers, it’s small wonder the bias at the top of organizations and teams is for controlling outcomes.  As we’ve discussed, there is a strong bias for structure baked into our industrial paradigm.  Most teams are run with the precision of factories.

Can leaders adapt to different models? Better still, can they learn adaptive behaviors, in general?

I explore precisely that challenge in Chapter 15 of The DNA of Collaboration. In our virtual book tour, we’ll explore some of the key concepts:

  • Q1. Viewing leadership as an art, how can we change our bias from structure to flow?
  • Q2. Music and fine arts offer leaders alternative views to how things work; can we borrow a stage, brush or canvas?
  • Q3. One goal of any team is affinity, aka common ground: how fast can we get there?
  • Q4. Diversity is key as well. Does our affinity goal represent a paradox?
  • Q5. In a high stakes world, how can leaders, like artists, learn to let go, experiment, take risks?

Hope you’ll join us SAT 11/3 11am ET. We use hash tag #cdna. You can click here at the appointed hour to join the conversation using TweetChat.

Hope to see you there.

– Chris Jones, aka @sourcepov, author


A Time and Place, Venues for Flow (Ch.13)

Clearly, collaboration requires a venue, a space where people can come together and share ideas.  But to open opportunities for flow, we’ll need to work to get outside the box of traditional meetings. As low tech and old school as it seems, a conference room provides many of the necessary trappings needed for in-depth conversation.

But what else is needed for flow?

As we prepare for KMW12 W5 tomorrow, let’s tap tonight’s special #cdna chat to unpack this.

  • Q1. How can space be modified to capture ideas more fluidly, perhaps using un-conferences as a guide?
  • Q2. How might adaptive facilitation further open dialog?
  • Q3. What metaphors for flow might help collaborators further shed notions of structured facilitation?
  • Q4. Can visualizing idea streams make a difference?

Hope to see you online, as we begin to unpack “flow” in the collaborative context.

– Chris Jones aka SourcePOV, author, The DNA of Collaboration


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


EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE: WE’RE NOW ON AMAZON

We’re now up on Amazon, and available for sale.  Stay tuned for further updates on the Amazon site, including addition of the “Look Inside” featured text, plus a pending link to the Kindle version.  You can follow us here on the book’s blog site for more updates, on Twitter via @CollabDNA, or watch for the Amazon link:  http://amzn.to/collabdna.

We’re grateful for the positive feedback we’re getting, and for the many Kindle readers who have already started the conversation at hashtag #cdna.  Looking forward to connecting and comparing notes ..

   – Chris Jones and the Collaboration DNA team, 10/1/12.


When Logic Leaves Us: Heuristics, Instincts and Fear (Ch.9)

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