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Collaborating with Someone You Don’t Really Know

https://hbr.org/2020/12/collaborating-with-someone-you-dont-really-know

hbr.org

Collaborating with Someone You Don’t Really Know
Five questions to ask when you’re working with someone for the first time.

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Collaboration can be a double-edged sword

Collaboration can be a double-edged sword

Organizations today are increasingly collaborative across interdependent teams. But collaboration can have two sides: It can lead to improved outcomes and intrinsic motivation, or it can significantly slow down decision-making and result in ongoing engagement that takes up most employees' time.

First discussing specific questions with your new colleague will enable you to work together more effectively and ensure a positive working relationship.

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Defining the objectives and the roadmap of a collaboration

Ask: What are our goals and process for this project?

Articulate each person's definition of success and vision of the path ahead. The goal is to ensure that both move in the same direction and don't work at cross purposes.

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Collaboration: Clarify responsibilities up-front

Ask: Who will do what, and by when?

Knowing who is responsible for what will help balance the workload, avoid duplicate work, and preempt territorial behaviour. Establishing accountability for progress on various deliverables can create greater clarity and increase the likelihood that goals will be met.

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Individual working styles and strengths within a collaboration

Ask: What are our individual preferred working styles and strengths?

Not understanding the differences in style can cause irritation or conflict. Understanding each other's strengths can help determine the division of labour.

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Giving feedback in a collaboration

Ask: When and how will we give each other feedback on our working relationship?

Establishing a process for feedback can build the relationship.

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Support and collaboration

Ask: What do we need from each other to do our best work?

It is important to discuss this question if you have never met before. Understanding how you can support each other to do your best work is only possible is you are clear about your needs. If you feel like you tolerate something from your colleague, it is often an unspoken request you have yet to make.

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The essential skill of listening

The essential skill of listening

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Nonverbal attending means giving someone your full attention without speaking.

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How to signal you are truly listening to someone

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“If you want to have good ideas, you must have many ideas.”

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Creativity and remote work

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  • As remote work will be the new normal for many of us, the discussion cannot be about which is the better place to do creative work. We have to get better at being creative remotely. It’s no longer a nice-to-have.

Brainwriting over brainstorming

Remote work allows us go beyond the standard approach to brainstorming by using brainwriting.

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