Jimmy Guterman wrote about Nokia's culture of purposefully fostering a collaborative mindset as soon as someone started at the company or moves into a new role. I want to build on this by looking at how collaboration needs to be seen as a process that happens over time, and that the crucial groundwork for successful collaboration needs to be laid before the "actual" collaborative work happens.
First, let's ask why collaboration is so important today. The main reason is that the problems we have to solve — whether deciding company strategy or bringing an innovative offering to market — are more complex than they have ever been. They require a variety of skillsets, perspectives, and approaches to solve them, and need a lot of pieces to come together smoothly to be successful. Bringing an innovation to market especially needs a mix of left- and right-brain people — visionaries and ditch-diggers, stubborn idealists and open-minded pragmatists. All this requires collaboration.
But there are barriers to collaboration, many of which exist even before somebody arrives for their first day of work. In the US, our education system is largely focused on individual efforts, and team work is not actively taught in the classroom even at the graduate level. How students and teachers at the K-12 level are incentivized tends to focus on clear goals met through individual knowledge and expertise, neither of which are realistic for the contemporary workplace.
Read the full story: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/05/collaboration_is_a_team_sport.html?cm_sp=most_widget-_-blog_posts-_-Collaboration%20Is%20a%20Team%20Sport%2C%20and%20You%20Need%20to%20Warm%20Up