| "We tried to collaborate, but we couldn’t
get everything we wanted so HAD to compromise."
I hear this a lot. I am a major advocate for collaboration.
I have told many groups that many people think
they are collaborating when they are really compromising.
Collaboration is defined as: to work together,
especially in a joint intellectual effort.
Many view collaboration as getting everything
they wanted. Collaborating is getting what is
needed to achieve a common goal.
Needs versus wants
There is a different between needs and wants.
I want a purple Jaguar convertible. However
what I need it a vehicle that is economical
to run, low maintenance, can carry my family,
and meets my business needs. I have not researched
the economic and maintenance of a Jag but I
know it would not fit my family (with my husband
and one son over 6 foot and my other son approaching
6 foot, a small car is not going to work) and
business needs. This does not mean that I still
do not want a Jag, I DO. However, in collaborating
I need to look at my needs not my wants.
The recent airline troubles have been interesting
to watch. I am sure that many people feel that
the ATA pilot’s union compromised when it advocated
for a temporary pay cut for its members. I don’t
think so. What is the goal of the negotiation?
The airline was in the middle of bankruptcy.
So the success of the company should be the
number one goal of both sides (management and
labor). I view the pay concessions as collaborative
result between the company and labor to help
the organization succeed. If the company did
not begin to make money to pay off their debts,
the company would cease to exist. If the company
goes out of business the pilots will not have
any salary. Thus both side lose.
In an effective collaboration you must have
a clearly identified goal, an understanding
of all the needs, and a willingness to work
to achieve the best solution for all. Collaboration
may not be achievable in all situations. Collaboration
is more of an attitude or an intellectual effort
than a result. Collaboration takes time and
effort but usually gains the best results. It
does not guarantee that you get everything you
want; however it should meet the most needs.
By: Margie Thomas