It’s happened! After weeks of lockdown (admittedly now partial lockdown) we’ve had our first experience of BLOG BLOCK! Sounds a bit gruesome, feels slightly painful but in the spirit of sharing with HOT (our Maier mantra of honesty – openness – trust) that’s what’s been going on here. Every week, until now, the ideas have flowed easily. As with all our creative design and writing the process that’s evolved over time is one of gathering ideas, one of us then taking ownership and running with it for a bit before passing the baton between us until we’ve shaped it up and given it our collective seal of approval.
This might sound a time consuming approach but we’re talking of working collaboratively at pace – the speed is important as it energises, keeps it fresh and means the time investment isn’t out of kilter with the end result. It has to be said, since the emergence of the COVID and WFH this way of working has been even easier and a bit of a joy. It connects and engages us, perhaps twice as deeply as before, we can intersperse other projects and pieces of work with this flow of communication and creativity. And it’s not just us – clients are telling us that as senior teams they are feeling more connected than ever – catching up more regularly, with added focus and intent. We get that, it’s the same for us too.
Pace and momentum are becoming more of a theme of late. This week a client of ours was venting her frustrations a bit, feeling her Exec team had lost their way in terms of ways of working – ‘over collaborating at the expense of impact and results’. It was one of those conversations where a whole new flow of ideas is secured just though the sharing of the emotions as well as the facts. The point of referencing this here is to emphasise that any (and all) teams committed to collaborative ways of working need to be aware of the bigger picture as well – the context they are operating in. When do you fly solo, when do you confer, how and when do you collaborate with others as a whole team and when do you act as representatives?
Some of the take-aways for us from that conversation were;
‘Yes, we want collaboration but not at the expense of independent thinking – momentum around delivering must be respected. Collaboration cannot afford to drift into lack of urgency or commerciality – it must add value. Ultimately the source of your energy has to come from YOU along with personal accountability – and in this case those ‘P’s cannot overly rely on the ‘J’s to pull it together.’
When asked what was front of mind for her at the moment it was the sense of everything taking too long with a lot of thinking and creating together (big tick) but not enough actioning and delivering (not so good). It’s that imperative of agreeing and owning when the deadline is, where you all sit on that continuum of fit for purpose/good enough/brilliant/perfection. HOT communication and challenge define great collaboration. There’s no space for self-indulgence, over thinking it or just doing your own thing.
Some clever delegate in a session this week suggested that rather than tag this period as a ‘new normal’ we should instead refer to it as the ‘new reality.’ ‘Normal’ in his mind inferred a level of consistency and stability – of knowing what to expect. When in fact for many this couldn’t be further from the truth. By chasing ‘normal’ we could be in danger of becoming less experimental, of thinking what we have now will do. Of forgetting to look at where there are opportunities to improve. We shouldn’t overthink what’s in front of us, but we should be looking at trying out new ideas, ‘swinging the bat’ as one of our American partners often says. We won’t hit a ‘home run’ every time but at least we’re in the game. At least we’re contributing positive energy and generating a shared sense of momentum.
Well look at that, BLOG BLOCK overcome! On reflection we’d perhaps neglected our spirit of collaboration and in a busy week one of us jumped in saying ‘OK I’ll do the blog’ without any of the usual pooling of ideas and sparks of inspiration. Which in the end took more not less time. Lesson learnt.