Bringing Minds Together

AbeleHere is an excerpt from an article written by John Abele for Harvard Business Review and the HBR Blog Network. To read the complete article, check out the wealth of free resources, obtain subscription information, and receive HBR email alerts, please click here.

Here are his thoughts about three organizational priorities, each of which requires collaboration.

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Community Building begins with convincing people who don’t need to work together that they should. That depends on:

o Inspiring them with a vision of change that is beyond any of their powers to bring about individually

o Convincing them that the other collaborators are vital to the effort and equal to the challenge

o Preventing any one party from benefitting so much that the others feel their contributions are being exploited

Establishment Bucking can’t be avoided. When a group collaborates on a new solution, there’s usually another, bigger group interested in the way things are done today. Be sure to:

o Recruit some of their respected players into your vanguard

o Create your own center stage to prevent your star project from being pushed into the wings

o Downplay, rather than underscore, the threat your breakthrough poses to their livelihood

Collaboration is the natural byproduct of leaders who are

o Passionately curious — who crave new insights and suspect that others have them

o Modestly confident — who can bounce ideas off brilliant collaborators, without turning it into a competition

o Mildly obsessed — who care more about the collective mission than about how achieving it will benefit their personal fortunes

…and may be the only leadership mode that produces breakthrough results.

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Here is a direct link to the complete article.

This article is among the ten provided in HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Collaboration.

John Abele cofounded Boston Scientific in 1979. Having retired from its board in May 2011, he now serves as director emeritus.

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