Collaboration by the Books
Two recent books explore what collaboration is — and what it’s
not. For one, it’s about transitioning from market-share to mind-
share thinking. For the other, it means working together ‘across
traditional knowledge silos.’
By Michelle Russell
Collaborative Intelligence: Thinking With People Who Think Differently,
by Dawna Markova, Ph.D., and Angie McArthur
The Collaborative Intelligence authors think that people have
a collaborative-intelligence quotient, which they refer to as
“CQ.” CQ, Angie McArthur told Convene, “is a measure of your
ability to think with others on behalf of what matters to us
all. To access that intelligence, we must learn to dignify the
differences in how we think and use those differences to face
complex challenges. Given the friction we often experience
when we try to think with those who think differently, that
task may sometimes seem impossible.”
People often default into one of three modes that inhibit
collaboration, McArthur said:
1COMPETITION You may think to yourself, “My idea is better than yours!”
2COMPROMISE You give up. You think that another person always gets their way; usually someone senior
in position. You feel disempowered, perhaps like your ideas
aren’t important, and that your thinking doesn’t add value.
3COOPERATION You tribe with likeminded people. If you are thinking with this person you may feel understood,
like they get you, but you’re also likely going to think just alike,
which will get boring and likely produce mediocre results.
In fact, having a collaborative mindset does not mean
always agreeing with the people you work with. “Instead,”
McArthur said, “it is identifying the differences in how each
person thinks, and leveraging those differences to create an
environment where diverse thinking thrives.”
In this excerpt from Collaborative Intelligence, McArthur
and Markova — who have a new book, Reconcilable
Differences: Connecting in a Disconnected World, coming
out next month — explain how collaboration is becoming
an integral part of our new economy:
In the market-share way of thinking, value is determined by shortage — I have it and you don’t. Objects are valued according to their
scarcity — diamonds, for example. Market-share mentality solves
problems by asking our minds to think practically, analytically, and
procedurally. We focus our individual and collective attention on deficits — cognitive, emotional, and financial.
When we think this way, we get stuck at the ends of the rope: Either
I’m right or you are. Select one answer or the other. A leader is a hero
who has clawed his way up the ladder of success and accumulated the
most power over others. Success is measured in assets accrued.
Former U. S. IKEA CEO Goran Carstedt calls the opposite approach a mind-share mentality. Wealth is created and carried by ideas and relationships
more than by transactions. When things carry value, if I have one and
give it away, I lose something. But when ideas carry value, everything is
turned upside-down. When you have a good idea and I have a good idea
and we exchange them, you walk away with two new ideas and I also
have two new ideas. The more we share, the more we have. Our capacity
to generate, share, and enact ideas becomes most valuable.
A mind-share world necessitates that we learn to use influence with
others rather than power over them. This is especially crucial now
because, in the age of rapidly formed “Velcro teams,” where people
across continents work together remotely for a short period of time,
influence, not power, is needed to get breakthrough work done. Mind
share also requires developing the capacity within ourselves to be
influenced by others and using skillful collaboration to create forward
movement. Ultimately, in a mind-share world, those who are most flexible in their thinking will be those who have the most influence.
While market share requires that we answer questions quickly and
expertly, mind share requires that we know how to ask the kinds of
questions that open our own and others’ minds to new possibilities.
Market share determines who is right and who is wrong. Mind share
asks what is possible. This kind of inquiry encourages the brain to wonder. It is wonder that creates the fertile conditions that generate ideas
and build bridges between seemingly opposing thoughts.
Excerpted from Collaborative Intelligence: Thinking With People Who Think Differently, by Dawna Markova, Ph.D., and Angie McArthur. © 2015. Published by Spiegel
& Grau, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.