Last week, while facilitating a group of people through a session on collaboration, something struck me. There was a huge difference between the group’s and my perception of how things were going. The group thought they were making fundamental steps towards a more succesful way of working together and all I was thinking about was how it should be more, better and faster. It turned out that I was projecting the “what could be” on the “what they can reasonably achieve” a bit too demanding. Because of the large number of sessions I did, my vision on what a group can and should achieve has become a bit blurred. Some groups are extremely happy with what I would qualify as just a logical step. For them this step might be a major achievement. And why is that?
I think this is because the way groups improve their collaboration is about going through different steps of maturity. One step at a time is the right pace here. Let’s say that the maturity in collaboration within organizations needs to go through ten steps, where the ultimate level of collaboration is ten. If an organization is at step three, they need to go through step four, five, six, seven, eight and nine before they can take the last step towards ten. Even though one could rationally prove that step ten is the one that needs to be made. I suppose that my anxiety with this particular group came from me knowing they needed to be at then, while they were struggling to get from three to four.
The next question would then be: how can this process be accellerated without losing the power of the process itself? That’s an interesting question to think about!