Generative collaboration

There has been a lot of discussion and research about the nature of intelligence and how the way we use our various intelligences affect our success both in life and in the organizational world. When Robert Dilts (1999) started researching what made the difference between successful and underperforming individuals and teams, he made several notable discoveries.

One of these was to build on the discussion about emotional intelligence, popularized by authors such as Daniel Goleman. Our emotional intelligence, is critical to those of us who wish to lead, to live an effective life and to understand and influence those around us in many of our day-to-day activities. Recruiters must test for emotional intelligence. In our work with the EU Commission this is now a core part of our assessment centres and is proving to increase retention as well as ensuring a more amenable culture at work.

Sally Vanson (2012) from her research in professional service firms, postulates that we need to take these relational skills a step further: In an age of increasing complexity and interconnectivity, our collaborative intelligence, is becoming increasingly important. Leaders and teams now need to build commercial and collaborative relationships with all stakeholders to combine strengths and blend offerings as we navigate the complexities of our world and the digital revolution and are challenged with the subsequent mental stressors. The RSA project on ‘Tomorrow’s Company’ has been pushing this for over fifteen years, ‘The Blueprint for Business Success’ is taking this forward. – Have you ever felt tired of doing all the work yourself? Does ‘doing’ stifle your innovation? Where are you today? Many leaders had a vision of their perfect life when they started. As they began to grow and develop, they hit the challenges and roadblocks of time, energy, money, people, or customers. Many get stuck at the control lever and can’t let go of doing the work or delegating. Some have organization and time management problems. Some don’t like paperwork or accounting and leave those for later. Others just like to do the work and don’t know how to run a business.

Dilts (2016) suggests that ‘no-one can create anything of significance on their own’ and has found that highly successful people are more likely to work more creatively and productively with others in order to achieve their dreams and their visions. He calls this ‘generative collaboration’.

Successive generative collaborations have produced significant contributions to the lives of others. The dual dyanamic of personal expansion – moving from ‘I’ to ‘we’ through contribution to something larger than oneself, is one of our core explorations this year. No longer is there room for ‘ego’ in this world and no longer can talented individuals afford to work alone.

How many sole traders reading this have their own websites, accounting systems, marketing plans and run around servicing all these administrative processes instead of working from a shared support platform and allowing innovation to flourish? We dare to suggest that this is due to ego and focus on ‘self’. Can you dare to modernize your thinking; to collaborate, to share and to trust?

We invite you to reflect, to learn and philosophize. Join us as we discuss and debate these issues over the coming months.

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