What attributes are necessary for creating a collaborative work environment?

photo 4I recently participated in a Group Methods Facilitation Course run by ICA. The last activity gave me the opportunity to facilitate a Consensus Workshop around the question: What attributes are necessary for creating a collaborative work environment?

I was thrilled not only by the richness of the responses (too good not to share), but also, by the diversity and similarity of responses. This last part sounds like a contradiction, but, what I am really trying to get at is, even though we all come from different workplaces and backgrounds, and have different roles and responsibilities, we still have common needs, goals and interests!

Here is a quick overview of what I did with the group:

1) I asked everyone in the group to come up with  6-7 responses to the question and write them on a piece of paper.

2) Then I asked them to share the ones they were most passionate about, and I placed them up on the board so that everyone could see.

3) As a group we clarified anything that wasn’t clear and grouped those that were similar.

4) Then I asked the group to share the rest of their responses and we continued to create groups or add them to existing.

5) Lastly, we decided on a summary name or phrase that best described the responses in a category (in another words, a consensus answer to the question!).

In the end we had 6 different categories of responses. We summarized these as the following (I have included a few of the individual answers under each of the six categories so that you get an idea of the individual responses):

  1. Team support
    • Help team members as needed
    • Best practice database to share resources
  2. Framing the work
    • Create work plan
    • Define roles and responsibilities
  3. Building staff rapport
    • Informal conversation spaces
    • Opportunities to “walk in my shoes”
    • Chance to come together and have fun
  4. Common goals
    • Annual team goal setting workshop
    • Specific goals and outcomes
  5. Shared vision of success
    • Shared expectation of what “success” looks like
    • Collaboratively create a way to measure success
  6. Consistent communication
    • Regular team meetings
    • Include everyone in dialogue
    • Formal conversation spaces

This is the result in a short amount of time (20mins) with a group of people that work in totally different work places. I am looking forward to trying this with my colleagues.

 

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