Taking the Conflict out of Collaboration

Often times, the challenges we face in delivering a large project lies not in the planning or execution of tasks – rather, it’s the managing of the multiplicity of professional expectations and personal drivers among teammates which creates tension and potentially, delay.

Everyone understands that a happy team is proven to be more productive. No doubt, your HR person is super enthusiastic with sharing a plethora of personality profiling to help build team cohesion, and bags of cash is often thrown at team build day events – and a belly full of free grub and booze makes the most contentious, amenable – for the day that is.

It’s hard to be personal in a professional environment, and it seems to me, that these kind of exercises, tend to deal with colleagues in a generic, categorical way – which clearly, is non-threatening – but arguably, as potent as tepid tea.

Collaboration Exercise

Here’s a collaboration exercise which I have found to be really effective!

Before your project starts, why not get your new team members in a room, give them the following list of drivers, and ask them to respond as honestly as they can. Collate, publish and distribute everyone’s response together on one page.


  1. What’s your personal circumstances?
  2. What’s your personal morality or code of ethics/philosophy that you subscribe to?
  3. What are your ambitions?
  4. What do you personally want to achieve with this project?
  5. What are your skills / knowledge / experience that are valuable for this project?
  6. What is your desired outcome for the project as a whole?
  7. How do you prefer people to communicate with you?
  8. What’s your communication style?
  9. How do you react when your stressed or uncomfortable and what can we do to ease the pressure?
  10. When is the best time to chat for meaningful conversation?

Good collaboration is centred on trust. The quickest path to trust is to share yourself in a real way – being prepared to be vulnerable, is usually appreciated, and our cultural convention leads us to reciprocate quickly – as a way of demonstrating that appreciation.

Doing this exercise before you start your project, will give everyone a chance to know how to get the best out of each other, to produce the best outcome – which is a true collaboration!

Till next time, crack a queer whid!

WordSmith Jo

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