When several creatives meet under one roof, anything can happen. By “anything”, I mean it can turn into something beautiful or something disastrous. At JCW, the one thing we know best is the power of internal collaboration, including the ups and downs that come along with it.
As a team of designers, strategists, developers, writers and producers, it’s safe to say we all have egos. In other words, we’re passionate about our genius epiphanies and original creations, and we will go down fighting to defend every one of them.
On the upside, we collectively understand that the path to reaching high quality products and services for our clients sometimes involve having uncomfortable disagreements. Why? Because creating something that challenges the norm is not an easy conversation.
In order to achieve success at the end of your team’s collaborative brainstorm, you’ll need the answers to these 5 essential questions:
1. How do I get to a place of being comfortable with what’s uncomfortable?
Working in a group, things will definitely start getting emotionally uncomfortable when ideas are shut down and voices aren’t heard. To build a sense of comfortability during this time, you must purposefully create a trusting environment. But trust isn’t turned on with a switch; it’s action-based and occurs over time. It’s best when a team has longevity and the right credentials. People trust what they’re used to and can’t deny experience.
2. How do I get work done with people who have totally different personalities?
This is a tough one, but it’s definitely achievable. To gain the right harmony between totally different personalities, you must make it obvious that it’s just business and not personal. Decisions cannot fluctuate to fit everyone’s personality type. The best way to handle this is to learn your team members’ individual strengths and weaknesses and understand your own. Lead by delegating people where they work best.
3. How are collaborative conversations best facilitated?
You must have a facilitator in place. Assign a proper leader for every meeting. The leader’s job is to not only facilitate the flow of the conversation but also to make sure everyone is respectfully heard and no one’s overpowering it. This person must also do a good job of saying things like, “Has everyone spoken their honest thoughts and said what they wanted to say?”
4. Who makes the final decisions in collaborative conversations?
It’s not majority rules in collaborative conversations. Final decisions are made when the best idea (backed with the most knowledge on the topic) wins. When ideas are being thrown out, everyone must realize that it’s imperative to have reasoning behind everything they’re saying. People can’t just say, “This should be blue” — without voicing why. Without an explanation, they can’t expect their opinions to be respected.
5. How do I avoid triangulation after a collaboration?
Triangulation happens when someone feels the need to relieve their frustration of their partner through complaints and criticism with someone else. Having the facilitator ask the right questions during a meeting is extremely important for avoiding triangulation. If someone leaves the room and says to another “I don’t agree with what was said,” trust and respect will decline greatly. Be definite about stopping triangulation early on and not allowing it to run rampant in your office.
Collaboration is powerful when guided properly. It’s about focusing on and achieving one common goal with the right team.