Activity: In What Phase of the Collaborative Process Does Your Team Thrive?
Do you thrive in times of generating options, or making choices? Creative, collaborative work requires us to toggle between moments that expand the space of opportunity—diverging, and ones where we home in and choose how to move forward—converging.
But, we are not all equally great at both. Most of us know how to shine in one zone, but find the other less comfortable.
Knowing your team's strengths and your own is an essential first step in choreographing collaboration.
When do you and your team thrive?
Step 1: Understand when you are at your best
As an individual contributor, do you find yourself in flow in moments of expanding the options, or narrowing the choices? Do you love moments of wild brainstorming, or designing the next step forward?
What about as a leader? Note: this may be different! Do you feel more comfortable creating the space for people to ideate and go wide, or to prioritize and narrow in?
Step 2: Learn when your teammates are in their power zones
Download this diagram and share it at your next team meeting. Add it to a slide in a shared deck, ask folks to identify where they each thrive by adding their dot on the diagram, and add your dot to the diagram as well.
Step 3: Reflect as a team
Take a step back, and reflect as a group on these three questions:
- What do we notice about where we are more and less comfortable?
- What does this moment in our work need?
- How might we bridge this gap?
Are you a team full of convergers, about to head into a moment where you need to generate wild possibilities? This may be a moment to bring in some outside energy, or pay extra attention to setting the conditions that help you all relax your idea-judgement filters.
Or do you, as a leader, know that you’re about to step into a phase of work in which you’re less comfortable? Who might you bring along as your ally, who’s at their best working this way?
As a leader, your awareness of your strengths and your team’s strengths will help you be more intentional about how you design the work so you can amplify others and provide extra support and guidance when you know members of your team are not in their comfort zone. Self and collective reflection about strengths and opportunity areas is a critical first step to unleashing your team’s creative potential.
For more strategies on designing for divergence and convergence and helping your team build collaboration skills, check out our online course Cultivating Creative Collaboration.
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