Leaders Laboratory is a collaborative experimentation to discover and deploy a powerful growth catalyst for forward-thinking CEOs.

A CEO Cannot Run A Company Alone…

It’s all about a series of Missions (short term assignments) where there is a start and an end.

Today’s business environment demands innovative solutions executed rapidly and precisely by people working well together.

An effective leader must be able to rally a team and lead it to its goal, successfully navigating obstacles along the way.  In my work with midsize to large privately held companies, our clients report that leading  effective teams is one of their greatest challenges.

We developed the following “Rules of Collaboration” from the work we have done with over 200,000 people around the world.

1. Teamwork: the source of teamwork is a common future.

By focusing on the intersection of your view, their view and the facts, you will reveal common purposes that enable problem solving. For teams to become strong, they need to consider intersections in three domains:

  • Shared purpose—why is it important that we operate together as a team?
  • Shared principles—what values will we adhere to in good times and bad?
  • Specific, measurable goals

2. Influence: a need as natural as breathing.  People do influence each other and the course of events in their organizations. The important question: is the influence valuable or is it wasteful? (see “Further Reading”)

3. Purpose: great achievement demands being true to purpose in the face of fear and threat.

The Law of Purpose recognizes that all humans have important purposes. They exhibit a biological response to threat—fight, flight, freeze or appease—which has evolved as a powerful mechanism for insuring survival. Often, these fearful reactions have made us forget our most important purposes.

4. Listening: the test for listening is learning.  Ordinary listeners only listen until they have an opinion about what they are hearing or until they validate what they already know. Great listeners listen until they learn something they did not know before.

5. Conversation: the quality of conversation governs the rate of value creation.  Conversation can be gauged according to four domains. Pay attention to which domain the conversation is in; speed it up by moving to the next domain. (Further Reading)

To launch authentic conversations, separate purpose from methods and results. Often you will be able to intersect with another’s purpose even when you disagree with methods and results.

If you disagree with results or methods, ask, “What is important to you that has you prefer these results (or methods)?” The other person will frequently reveal his essential purpose. Can you support that purpose? A return to shared purpose allows you a chance to co-create new methods and results.

6. Appraisal: judgments are based on perception, not on reality, so hold them lightly.

7. Resistance: when you get resistance, do research.  When we bring our opinions forward, others may resist us. Resistance often triggers bioreaction and we try to overwhelm the resistance or run away from it, which only causes the resistance of the other to increase.

The valuable response to resistance is to research the other person’s purposes, concerns and circumstances.  Then you have a chance to discover an intersection.

8. Failure: the integrity of failure is return on investment.  Humans inevitably make mistakes. Mistakes can yield valuable learning if we focus on adjustment rather than on blame and disappointment.

9. Consensus: having influence does not equal having a veto.  Mistakenly, consensus has come to mean that everyone has to agree. The more precise meaning of the word is, “to feel or think together.”

For fast resolution, use consensus to mean that all relevant people can influence, rather than that everyone has a veto. If everyone has a veto, they are less likely to explore other views and craft the best result.  (Further Reading)

10. Appreciation: appreciation is the soul of collaboration, bringing meaning, resilience and learning to the workplace.

For the individual, appreciation makes work meaningful and worthwhile. For the organization, appreciation honors highly valued contribution and makes it an example for all. Appreciation strengthens organizations.  (Further Reading)

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