Re: Knowledge sharing culture #culture #trust #collaboration

Murray Jennex

Stephen has hit the situation for crisis management right on the head of what I was saying (while of course saying it much better than I did).  I don't know how many of you have military experience (I'm a former naval officer) and that is very relevant to this discussion.  The military is very heavy and reliant on team work with leaders.  Crisis response is very heavy with team work with leaders.  In much crisis response, especially immediate crisis response, there is little time for consensus building or collaborative interaction.  The team responds as trained under the guidance of the leader.  Collaborative culture and behavior occurs during crisis planning and during the longer term actions.  However, even during long term emergency actions there is still a leader and team work, just more time for consensus building.  I don't think anyone would really say that the military, fire departments, police departments, space operations, or any other operations organization where there is threat of life or limb are heavy collaborative environments.  Perhaps in the planning departments but operations relies on team work with leaders. Note that I'm not saying they couldn't be collaborative, they just aren't now.......murray jennex

-----Original Message-----
From: Stephen Bounds <km@...>
Sent: Mon, Mar 8, 2021 6:18 am
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Knowledge sharing culture #culture

Agree Tim -- although "collaboration" is one of those words that people can often take to mean quite different things. (And apparently, so is "crisis"...)
I feel that "collaboration" has to mean something more than just "teamwork" or else the very idea of a "collaborative culture" becomes all but meaningless. This article nails the distinction pretty well I think:
Both teamwork and collaboration involve a group of people working together to complete a shared goal. The key difference between the collaboration and teamwork is that whilst teamwork combines the individual efforts of all team members to achieve a goal, people working collaboratively complete a project collectively.  Those collaborating work together as equals, usually without a leader, to come up with ideas or make decisions together to complete a goal. Whereas team work is usually overseen by a team leader, and those within a team are delegated individual tasks to complete to contribute towards the team’s end goal.

Or put bluntly, "collaboration" requires cognitive labour whereas teamwork may not. To pre-empt a possible question, mental labour is not necessarily cognitive labour either. It is quite possible to perform predominantly mental tasks with a minimum of cognitive effort.
I fear that the collective blindness we have as a community is the presumption that all workers in an organisation:
(a) are well-practiced at cognitive labour
(b) find cognitive labour stimulating and enjoyable, and
(c) wish to contribute their cognitive labour as part of their employment
None of these are not necessarily true. In fact, it is intellectually arrogant to take our own desired experience of work and assume it applies to every other person. In a similar way, we wouldn't expect everyone to want a job with a high amount of emotional labour.
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
On 8/03/2021 11:49 pm, Tim Powell wrote:
Hi Nirmala,
I agree with you that consensus and collaboration are not identical.  But they are closely related, don’t you think? 
I see consensus as a necessary pre-condition of successful collaboration.  How can you work together effectively (i.e., collaborate) without prior agreement as to WHAT is to be done, and HOW it is to be done (i.e., consensus)?

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From: <> on behalf of Nirmala Palaniappan <Nirmala.pal@...>
Reply-To: "" <>
Date: Monday, March 8, 2021 at 8:25 AM
To: "" <>
Subject: Re: [SIKM] Knowledge sharing culture #culture
Are we saying that collaboration should not be encouraged at times? I am little lost on that....because 
1. Collaboration is definitely not the same as consensus (in a crisis, trying to arrive at a consensus will definitely be a drawback but collaboration would be essential, for example, to execute a decision that’s been taken)
2. Collaboration is not akin to a switch that can be turned on or off depending on the situation - It is either built into a culture or not. There can be varying degrees of collaboration based on the effort and type of initiatives and, of course, there has to be someone at the helm guiding the team/workforce to make the most of the collaborative culture 
Am I missing something here?
On Mon, 8 Mar 2021 at 6:07 PM, Peter-Anthony Glick via <> wrote:
Hi Murray, what you found about when to collaborate and when not to is probably correct but to me is irrelevant.

Fundamentally, in this thread we are confusing two things (and probably my fault for not being clear enough):
1. The need and benefits of a collaborative culture to support in particular a digital transformation (what I was referring to)
2. The situations when collaboration is adding value and the ones when it is not necessarily so (what some of you seems to be focusing on).

When an organisation can be described as having a truly collaborative culture, it does not mean that everyone will be collaborative all of the times!
Such a culture does not mean being collaborative to death to a point that no individual feels compelled to make a decision.

In fact, as I have already stated above, in a collaborative culture it is not about consensus at all.  For the decision maker, it is about benefiting from the expertise/insights of others to make the "right" decision as informed as possible.  It is about learning from mistakes and successes (so lessons learned) for instance.  It is also about leveraging employees skills/competences that are not directly needed by their current role.  
Maybe we could have another thread to discuss the definition of a collaborative culture.
"The faithful see the invisible, believe the incredible and then receive the impossible" - Anonymous

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