Positive Behaviors that Encourage Collaboration PDF Print E-mail

July 2012 - The FoCuSeD™ Facilitator eNewsletter

collaborative organization


Positive Behaviors that Encourage Collaboration | Gary Rush Facilitation

“Society” is,


“Groups working together because of some common interest, belief, or profession.” For me, the key phrase is, “working together” – which is the definition of “collaborate”. From a young age, we are taught to compete. Yes, we are told that teamwork is key, but the needed skills to make it work are seldom taught. Our reward systems in business and in life reward the individual. Seldom do people get rewarded because of team effort. Even when we do have teams, we are always in a competitive mode. We still haven’t learned that working together is key. To progress in business and in life, we need to move to positive behaviors that encourage collaboration, The Collaborative Society – A Model of the Future.


The Collaborative Society …


This is not Nirvana or Utopia. It is not everyone walking around holding hands singing “Kum Ba Yah.” It is not everyone practicing the same religion, using the same form of government, or even forming one big country on Earth. The Collaborative Society has nothing to do with communist or socialist economic models. The Collaborative Society is an attitude of acceptance and respect that embraces the many differences we have and allows each of us to find where we are most comfortable. The Collaborative Society is an attitude that values all people and ideas. The Collaborative Society resolves disagreements not through force, violence or threat, but through process and understanding and working together to find consensus-based solutions. The Collaborative Society values inclusion over exclusion and recognizes that our differences make the world a more interesting and richer place. The Collaborative Society recognizes that by working together, we can do more than by working alone.


Being part of The Collaborative Society requires that you become a collaborator – developing positive behaviors that encourage collaboration. To be an effective Collaborator requires the following Competencies:


  • Encouraging Collaborative Relationships.
  • Understanding and using Appropriate Processes.
  • Encouraging Participatory Environments.
  • Working with People to Achieve Useful Outcomes.
  • Being knowledgeable about the World.
  • Modeling Positive Behaviors.


Encouraging Collaborative Relationships


To encourage Collaborative Relationships, you need to build trust. Trust is a key element to being collaborative. One of the best examples of this is the U.S. military. One of the first values taught to military officers is, “Do not lie, cheat, or steal.” This value fosters respect and trust. It enables collaboration.


Understanding and using Appropriate Processes


When people begin to collaborate, they flounder without effective processes. Humans do not instinctively know how to work through issues or problems. When we use a process that’s embedded in our mind, we struggle because others think differently from us. Understanding and using the appropriate shared processes – especially for problem solving, decision-making, communication, creativity, and envisioning is important. Effective processes enable people to arrive at appropriate answers, together, because they provide a means that focuses on the ideas or the issues, rather than personalities.


Encouraging Participatory Environments


To gain the benefit of the collective minds, everyone must participate – everyone must be engaged. Listening, intervening in crisis, building trust, and embracing Diversity in every way, all work towards gaining total participation. When only some of the people participate, all suffer and lose something of value – good ideas, support, or a feeling of belonging.


Working with People to Achieve Useful Outcomes


We need to accomplish something of value. Societies seldom come together for the sake of coming together. Teams don’t form just because. They form because they come together to do something of value – reaching a common Vision.


Being knowledgeable about the World


To Collaborate, you need to be knowledgeable – know the issues. Everyone needs to know the terrain that he or she is dealing with. Continued learning is important – and keeping abreast of current events and what is happening in the World is critical. You need to keep informed, be aware, and be responsible for what you say.


“The person who is too old to learn, was probably always too old to learn.” Dr. Caryl Haskins


Modeling Positive Behaviors


Set the example. “Do as I say, not as I do” has never worked. People around you will model their behavior after yours. To encourage collaboration, you can’t tell people that this is the way it is. But, people do follow examples. When you demonstrate positive behavior, you will gain credibility and trust. When you treat others with respect, you will get respect in return. “Treat others, as you want to be treated.”




We model collaboration by Encouraging Collaborative Relationships, Understanding and using Appropriate Processes, Encouraging Participatory Environments, Working with People to Achieve Useful Outcomes, Being Knowledgeable about the World, and Modeling Positive Behaviors. We hold these together through Respect and Honor for the Individual, following our Beliefs, and practicing Active Listening so that we effectively communicate.


Collaboration is crucial and without collaboration we will fail. Together, we can collaborate and define The Collaborative Society. logo