The Collaboration Myth: Why it Doesn’t Work

Managing people in a productive manner is difficult, and figuring out how to get them to work together can be even more difficult if you’re not sure of what you’re doing.  But, CEO needs to note that there is a real difference between putting employees on a team and asking employees to collaborate with each other.  The words ‘teamwork’ and ‘collaboration’ do not mean the same thing; important nuanced differences between the two will greatly affect the outcome of any project.

The Harvard Business Review has a helpful breakdown of the difference between teamwork and collaboration.  When simply put, a team works together equally toward a common goal, whereas collaborating employees may be competing with each other in some way.  Competition changes the name of the game. And this competition is what leads to its failure.

A team makes decisions together and there is a leader to mitigate disagreements.  Collaborating employees work alongside each other, may make independent decisions, and do not have a decision-maker to resolve issues.

The only times that The Harvard Business Review suggest using a collaboration method over creating teams is when separate business units are working together on a single project.  Otherwise, teams are the way to go – hands down.

Read: Collaboration Is Misunderstood and Overused


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