Must we all collaborate on this? (Top3ics, July 2017)

Just one topic in this edition, sparked by Collaborative Overload (Harvard Business Review). 

As always, browse all issues and subscribe.

The 18month-old HBR article reported on research across 300+ organisations showing “time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50% or more”, with people at many companies spending “up to 80% of their time in meetings, on the phone, and responding to e-mails”.

Moreover: 20-35% of value-added collaborations come from only 3-5% of employees. Both capable and willing to help, these “extra milers… can drive team performance more than all the other members combined”. 

So what happens when these valuable individuals find themselves in an “over-collaborative” environment? 

Crushed “under an avalanche of requests for input or advice, access to resources, or attendance at a meeting”, they become institutional bottlenecks; see their work helping others going unnoticed; and, inevitably, either leave or become seriously disengaged. Sound familiar?

The HBD article then explores how to avoid this, but some of the pithiest observations came from 7 Ways That Collaboration Makes Teams Less Effective (Inc). I particularly recognised:

3. Collaboration tends to foists work from the incompetent onto the competent, who end up doing doing the lion’s share of the effort. 

So if you believe that collaboration is a good in itself, to be pursued at all costs, check out these two resources and the 14 others tagged collaboration. Other relevant tags include management, HR, employee engagement and internal communications.

I find myself skewered by this research

On the one hand, I’ve seen work flow from the incompetent to the competent everywhere I’ve worked. It’s a major reason I’m happier solo.

On the other hand, I’m keen to improve collaboration wherever I work, and am actively researching how for most of my clients, notably as Chief Digital Guy at META. So expect more research and posts on these topics. 

If you found what I found interestingget Top3ics by email and/or the best links via my Messenger curatorbot, and let your friends know. It’s a no-cost way to help.


Relevant recent posts include:

Less relevant: I also recently translated my previous newsletter, researching the backfire effect, into Beware BackFiring when Battling Bullshit

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More Stuff tagged management , collaboration , internal communications , hr , newsletter , employeeengagement

See also: Digital Transformation , Change & Project Management , Business

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