The September WRAP - The Co in Collaboration
Updated: Mar 6, 2022
After taking an unplanned break for August, the monthly WRAP is back!
We were ready and set to put pen to paper and get something published when the sixth (yup, SIXTH!) lockdown hit Victoria. I am not going to frill neck things — everything was just a little too hard back then. So in a big dollop of self-kindness, I gave myself the month off. I turned notifications off, did the client work that I find life-giving, read books and pretty much stopped everything else. This article by Adam Grant is a bit old now — but it described, perfectly the malaise I was feeling. Hence — no August WRAP. I am pleased to say that after getting used to things and accepting there are still some highs and lows to come — I am feeling a little more like my old self.
We had promised a focus on collaboration for August, and I don’t want to disappoint — so here it is a bit late but worth the wait! Throughout the pandemic, the narratives on collaboration have been interesting to follow. They range from the work from home evangelists — determined to convince you that every aspect of collaboration you used to do in person can be replicated remotely. The middle-grounders who think a blend of remote and in-person is the correct answer. And, finally, the die-hards who are desperate to get back into the office and some semblance of normal. Interestingly, a lot of the discussion has been about where people work — rather than what good collaboration is, how people show up ready to collaborate and the conditions that allow it to thrive — so that’s going to be the focus for this months WRAP . I hope you enjoy the read, and as always, we would love any feedback and any other topics we should cover.
Introducing the Evangelist my friends.
WATCH (6 mins)
Our first choice is a quick video from Dr. Shelle VanEttten de Sánchez who worked for 12 years as the Director of Education at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. She shares four indispensable lessons about the power of collaboration — in situations with limited finances, resources, staffing and time (sound familiar?). I particularly love her insight about ego confronting collaboration — I have certainly been guilty of letting my ego get in the way of listening carefully to others and creating space for them to shape my ideas and thinking. Which one of the four principles resonates for you, and how can you stop from falling into a ‘closing down and holding tightly’ mindset instead of opening up to endless possibilities?
READ and AUDIO: Like Brothers, Mark & Jay Duplass
Mark and Jay Duplass are critically acclaimed filmmakers, actors and creators behind a whole host of things. There are too many movies to mention, but they are perhaps best known for their work on The Mindy Project, Togetherness, Transparent and Morning Wars (guilty lockdown binge pleasure!). This book might not be an obvious choice, but I bought it after someone recommended it to me, and I could not eat it up quickly enough.
Reasons I loved it:
Their childhood is in the 80’s, so all of their references were my references and it was a bit of comfort food when I needed it.
They describe their creative process beautifully.
Their approach to collaboration is a terrific example of high challenge and high support in action. Not just brutal honesty (although there is also a bit of that!).
Chapter 3 — some thoughts on compromise are rules to live by (welcome back to the theme of check your ego at the door — it makes another appearance here).
Their philosophy of 80 is enough lands with me. I can get something to 80% but I’ll need other smart people to get it to 100%.
When things get tough they go for a walk and talk — not sit down for an hour dictated by Outlook — they move, walk and talk. I have been thinking about moving in coaching — inspired by Claire Pedrick from 3D Coaching — more to come on that in future editions of the WRAP, I reckon.
You can hear them talk about all of this and more in their interview with Brene Brown on Unlocking Us. So add it to your listening list now. The only downside is — it is two straight, white guys, and if you’ve had enough of that — I get it.
It is hard to talk about the co of collaboration without discussing the fundamental issue of power — and acknowledging that great collaboration involves relinquishing power and control. Maya Goodwill has made a beautiful resource called A Social Designer’s Field Guide to Power Literacy that is a must-read. It describes different types of power and how we enact our power and privilege in different situations. In addition, it has several worksheets and reflection activities that are useful for reflecting when power is at play in projects and with your colleagues. The Field Guide is framed around power in the design process, but it has so many overlaps with collaboration it is worth a shout out. I particularly love the idea of ‘power check’ moments so collaborators can name if and when things are getting out of balance — welcome back our ego for the third time ;-) You can check out Maya’s work at www.power-literacy.com
I hope there was something in this edition for you and do let us know what you have been reading and watching and we can share - a collaboration compendium, no less!