When Collaborating Stinks

Those like me – that like to collaborate – love the interaction, the new and improved ideas, the way a group will generate better solutions and then “own” them. Others detest the amount of extra time it takes to collaborate, the loss of control over the outcome, the fact that their ideas may not be those implemented, and the general messiness of the process.

For all those reasons, both the love and the hate, knowing when to collaborate and when to direct is critical.

  • There is no known or proven answer (there is a need to innovate)
  • The best approach is known
  • You need to build engagement and buy-in
  • There will be little to no resistance
  • There are many stakeholders with diverse needs and expectations
  • Fewer stakeholders are involved
  • You need creativity and innovation
  • You are forced to do something due to rules, regulations or compliance needs (although you might collaborate on how to do these things more efficiently)
  • It is a game changer for something that really matters
  • Outcomes impact areas of lesser importance
  • You are looking for a longer term outcome
  • It is an emergency, to get people moving in the same direction quickly, or time is short
  • There are many ways to approach the situation
  • Time and resources are limited or need to be focused on something more important


  1. http://Pam says

    Good reminder that collaboration is not always warranted. Love the cogent table!

  2. http://Deb%20New says

    Thanks for this tasty food for thought. Collaboration can definitely be over-used, and even when it is done, it’s tough to do well.

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