We begin with an audit. And then take three steps. The process is straight-forward, transparent, and pragmatic. I will accompany you long each step.
Every project, small or large, begins with some kind of analysis of the current situation. Let’s call it an audit. From the Latin term audire, which means to listen. Colleagues listen to each other.
Meet as a team. Discuss what is not working. Identify the most important problems. Call them problems, not challenges, not issues. Problems are good. If you solve them you move forward. You become stronger, more successful, more hopeful.
For each of the problems identified answer three questions. Not in detail. But instead from a high perspective. First, what is the problem? Describe it. Second, who is involved? These are the colleagues you are interacting with. Third, how does the problem influence your work? Try to put a number on it. An estimate. It can be imprecise.
You can call these problem-profiles. Or choose another term. Either way they always have the same three pieces: description, interactions, influence. Now rank the problem-profiles in terms of importance. In other words, in the sequence you want to address them.
Finally, for each problem reach out to the other team involved. These are the colleagues you identified in the second question. Ask them to engage with you in order to solve the problem. You are inviting them to improve collaboration. To go through Steps 1 through 3 with you. Together. As colleagues.
Step 1 – Problem
Ok, per problem address each of the three key questions in more detail. Do this individually. As colleagues within the same team.
First, what is the problem? Describe it in detail. Second, who is interacting with whom? Who in your team with whom in the other team. Third, what is the influence on the work of your team? We’re talking about negative impact. Estimate it in numbers. As accurately as you can.
Now share the problem-profiles with the other colleagues in your team. The colleagues in the other team are doing the same on their side.
Step 2 – Recommendation
Read and reflect on the problem-profiles you received from your other team-members. You are still interacting within your team. Not yet with the other team.
Now come together as a team. Discuss the problem. Formulate recommendations on how to solve the problem. The goal is to improve collaboration.
Good. Now share your recommendations with the other team. They are taking the exact same steps. They will share their recommendations with you and your team.
Step 3 – Solution
Ok, in Step 1 you and your colleagues did the problem-profile. You have clarity as a team about the nature of the problem. Then, in Step 2 you and your colleagues formulated recommendations on how to improve the situation.
You shared them with your colleagues in the other team. And those colleagues did the same in Steps 1 and 2. You have read and reflected on their recommendations. They have read and reflected on yours.
Now, in Step 3 meet as both-teams. Discuss the recommendations you shared with each other. You are colleagues. You want to improve collaboration. Problems always offer opportunities. For forward movement.
Decide how best to combine your recommendations. This is what collaboration is all about. These kinds of discussions. Solving problems. Together. As colleagues.
You have decided how to solve the problem. Now choose two colleagues, one from each team, to work out how to implement the solution. Good. Now go to work. Implement the solution. And remember, all solutions are a work in progress. They need constant evaluation and refinement.
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