When collaboration goes bad

Poor organisational intelligence leads to 'coblaboration' instead of collaboration.Harvard Professor, David Perkins, in his latest book, "King Arthur's Round Table : How Collaborative Conversations Create Smart Organizations", discusses the importance of "organisational Intelligence" and "developmental leadership" and how the absence of these leads to coblaboration rather than collaboration in organisational teams.


Perkins defines "organizational intelligence" as "how well people put their heads together in a group, team, organization, or community".

When he talks about "developmental leaders", who he contrasts with "authoritarian leaders", Perkins means leaders, often not the most senior in the organisation, "who show through their conduct what it is to think and work well with others, and who guide and coach others informally in patterns of collaboration."

Perkins coined the term "coblaboration" out of exasperation and suggests three defining characteristics:

1. a chaotic pattern of conversation that does not advance much

2. huge time wasted on minor issues

3. groupthink (i.e., when people agree too easily and thoughtlessly on something)

Perkin's suggested cures to 'coblaboration' include good facilitation skills and reserving group conversations for the right situations.

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I love the term "coblaboration." What Perkins is describing is fundamental group communication skills.

Communication is the foundation of collaboration. Flat versus hierarchical structures -- for example, based on "who can benefit from this information" versus a "who needs to know" -- leads to "collaborative citizenship" (as defined by Perkins).

Thanks for the pointer to Perkins' book.

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