This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

What does Collaboration look like?

The Manager Tools podcast often has interesting food for thought for managers.  It looks like they are going to do a series on "the collaborative manager," and they have started out with Chapter 1 on the topic on how to encourage more collaboration in meetings. 

As with many people who observe the idea of "collaboration," they complain that the term is somewhat meaningless on its own. People have many ideas about what collaboration is - just like we have many ideas about what a good "culture" is. But without some expectations for results from collaboration, it doesn't help much.

As a result, their podcast talks about some direct actions people (managers in this case) need to take to get the desired effect of collaboration - this time in the context of meetings.  Let people know you are going to be asking for more input - don't just spring it on them at your next meeting. Be specific in the type of input you will be seeking - just asking for "ideas" often gets unclear results. People develop their ideas in different ways - giving them advance warning allows those who prefer the slow boil to frame their ideas in a way that they are more comfortable sharing them with the group. They also suggest talking to some participants directly about the need for their input. This serves to both coaching people in how to perform (not everyone knows), as well as giving those who might be more reluctant specific direction.

In short, the podcast talks about helping your meetings be more collaborative by helping the people coming to the meeting be prepared. Novel, huh?

Oh, and how do they define collaboration? In this context of meetings, it is asking for, listening to, and incorporating other people's ideas.  Fairly simple - now wonder they say, "We've just killed the buzzword of collaboration" in their closing.

Can you be gruff and still show respect?

Nice summary of CCPM