2 July 2013
Guest post by Dale Carnegie Training (See Sarah’s guest post on the Dale Carnegie site here)

In a guest post a few weeks ago on the Dale Carnegie Training blog, innovation process expert and author Sarah Miller Caldicott offered 3 Ways to Gauge Great Team Collaboration. Here is our reciprocal guest post from the Dale Carnegie Training team offering another in-depth view of collaboration as exemplified by the teams of Thomas Edison — world renowned innovator and Sarah’s great-great-uncle.

Collaboration is a crucial element that can drive team success beyond the mere sum of the capabilities of each member. Moreover, Edison’s success reminds us that there is a significant distinction between true collaboration and the simple notion of “teamwork. ” There are key indicators today’s leaders can look to for determining whether true collaboration exists in a team or not.

A leader must not only be able to identify a lack of collaboration, but inspire and foster opportunities that help collaboration increase. It takes strong leadership and management skills to transform a group of employees from simply ‘working together’ to collaborating as a coherent unit.  Today, leaders must know what to do if they see that a team’s collaboration indicators are lagging.  Here are 3 strategies offered by Dale Carnegie Training which align with Edison’s own thinking as reflected in Sarah’s new book Midnight Lunch.  These 3 strategies can help leaders encourage and promote increased collaboration among team members.


First, to ensure that team members are truly collaborating, create opportunities for learning at work. Employees that come together to problem-solve have the chance to learn-by-doing, and can engage in true collaboration. When drawing upon the perspectives of others, employees often perform their best work and arrive at solutions they could not have if they had worked individually. Leaders can facilitate this type of learning by constantly challenging teams to push themselves beyond what is perceived to be possible.

Leaders can also create opportunities for learning and discovery by providing training in new areas to help teams feel more equipped to handle difficult tasks and assignments. When individuals have opportunities to learn in team settings they feel more challenged, more engaged, and become more self-motivated. As Caldicott points out in her research on Edison’s success, his teams were frequently encouraged to run experiments together and thereby develop new context around the problems they faced. Their discovery learning endeavors led to development of a ‘growth mindset’ which allowed them to rapidly adapt to new market conditions.  By expanding the discovery learning opportunities in a team setting, leaders deepen the growth potential for their entire organization.

Read the full article @PowerPatterns.

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