Collaboration depends on joint effort, a sense of belonging, a sense of urgency and commitment. Also necessary to achieving common goals are mutual trust and shared ownership, resources, information, influence and decision-making. As with any team, complementary and diverse backgrounds can enhance the outcome but also raise the possibility of conflict. When it works, partnering with others to achieve goals can be rewarding, even exhilarating.

Identified as among the mission critical competencies for a new economy, it seems hard to achieve. If any of these behaviors are true of you or your work associates, there are remedies at

  • Fails to clarify goals, ground rules and resources needed
  • Avoids sharing information and resources (turfism)
  • Lapses into individual efforts over collective efforts to achieve goals
  • Competes for control or resources
  • Misses milestone commitments when they compete with personal gain or other demands

Action learning tips and learning assignments on the job are a click away at

You might also consider (a sampling of suggestions from

Sawyer, Keith. Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration. Cambridge, MA: Basic Books, 2007.

Covey, Stephen. The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything. New York: Free Press, 2008.

Tamm, James W. Radical Collaboration: Five Essential Skills to Overcome Defensiveness and Build Successful Relationships. New York: Harper Paperbacks, 2005.

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