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How Do You Collaborate?

I thought this sounded like an interview question, and I don’t usually care for interview questions.  I was in the middle of being interviewed for a position after all, and this was a question my interviewer had on a printed page in front of him with intentionally open spaces for his note-taking.

With a poor attitude like this I did not fare well on this portion of the discussion, stammered a bit, and blurted out something about superior inter-personal skills and team blah blah blah.  My interviewer politely smiled and moved to the next question, but I tried to re-engage, knowing that I had been very clumsy with this non-answer.  We both basically laughed it off and I assumed it was one of those unanswerable points that can be used in an interview to discern thought processes and verbal skills as opposed to a right or wrong answer.

On the plane home it was still bothering me and with some time to relax and put some thought into it I realized that it is not an inane interview “gotcha,” it is an excellent question to determine thought process or, more importantly, to gain insight into a person’s ability to take an abstract concept like “collaboration” and move it into tangible business actions.

It seems to me there is one overriding requirement for successful collaboration, and everything else falls into place from there in successively more detailed and tactical steps.  The requirement is that all parties involved in the collaboration understand and share the common objective and business purpose that has brought them together.  I would think the progressive tactical steps would be something like:

  • Agree on common objective for collaboration
  • Method(s) of communication, frequency
  • Method(s) for achieving end result
  • Measurements, milestones, timeframes

What am I missing here?  This was the start of a brainstorm, there must be many more issues to consider…

Bryan

bschueler@gmail.com

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May 11, 2009 Posted by | Service and Operations | 12 Comments