Last week, ATD STL hosted a professional luncheon with guest speaker Sarah McLaughlin. The room was packed despite freezing rain and snow falling all morning. When people were still asking to register the morning of the event, we knew they were eager to hear about the importance of collaboration so we proceeded with the event. After warming up with a delicious lunch, members and guests settled in to learn how being open to working with others can break down silos and raise levels of engagement and productivity.
Sarah shared Ken Blanchard’s heart, head, and hands domains of collaboration. Begin with the heart which is impacted by your character and intentions. It is very important to recognize people’s differences. A few ways you can do this is by making sure every voice is heard, regardless of title. Also, encourage polite disagreement remembering that diverse perspectives lead to better decisions and innovation. While seeking out difference, ensure people feel safe. Be a role model by being accessible, dependable and transparent when making decisions.
Approaching collaboration with your head means knowing your beliefs and attitudes. Get your team on board by involving them in defining purpose, values and goals. They should outline what collaboration means for them overall and on each project they work. Then check in regularly by setting accountability standards and ranking values in order of importance.
Finally, the hands domain looks at your actions and behavior while collaborating. While encouraging your team to both speak up and listen, ensure you are doing the same. Create opportunities for cross functional teams to network and work together. Invite other departments to participate in decision making meetings or brainstorming sessions. If needed, invest in training for your team’s communication skills and development.
While explaining Blanchard’s approach, Sarah described a client that had all the best tools and technology for their workforce but struggled to be productive. They didn’t understand how not reaching out across departments and the silos they created was impacting their success. The luncheon participants completed the session with the self-assessment How Collaborative Do You Think You Are? Then, at their tables, they discusses their findings and reactions and then created an action plan to improve the domains that need the most improvement.
Join us for our next luncheon on April 18 when we will hear Joe Totherow, a department leader of experience design for Edward Jones, explain the distinction between gamification and instructional games. You will learn how to expand your design team's capabilities in instructional game design and how to leverage commercial games for skill building. Click here to register.