Chapter 3. The Elements of Collaboration: Shared Understanding, Inclusion, and Trust

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The Elements of Collaboration: Shared Understanding, Inclusion, and Trust

In his classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey offers one of the best pieces of advice: Begin with the end in mind. Covey writes, “Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.”

Successful collaboration requires you to begin with the end in mind. If you work with your team to Think-Make-Check a model, what does successful collaboration look like when you’re done?

Teams who collaborate well do three things (Figure 3-1):

  • They share an understanding and vision
  • They include everyone
  • They trust each other

Figure 3-1

Successful collaborative teams exhibit three behaviors: shared understanding, inclusion, and trust.

Together, these three behaviors reinforce each other and help teams collaborate better. Because these are things you do, you don’t have to believe them, just do them. And you don’t have to be good at them. Practice makes you better. Keep flexing your collaboration muscles to make collaboration better.

Share Understanding, the First Principle of Collaboration

To collaborate means to work together on some thing, the same thing, ...

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