Idea of the Day: I Think I am Collaborating Too Much – 9 Triggers to over collaborating!
Am I one of the way too eager people who jump into, or are dragged into, active collaborations that might run better without us and that burn up our valuable time and energy? I think I might be??
To let you know, collaboration overload isn’t just about the meetings that fill up our calendars: it’s also the endless emails, slacks, reports and work that every new project generates. Is it possible to have collaboration overload?
This great new book Beyond Collaboration Overload by Rob Cross says emphatically yes. Do also check out the Ted Ideas Series that lists the beliefs, motivators and triggers that put people into collaboration overload and solutions to overcome: https://bit.ly/3yE4rI5
The actual list of beliefs, motivators and triggers that put people into collaboration overload is nearly infinite, but there are nine of the most commonly captured in the article and I’ve listed the top two that I am working on and trying to fix my collaboration overload.
⚡Trigger – The desire to help others
People find this trigger surprising because helping others is a core tenet of one of the most well-established approaches to management. But what’s supposed to be positive can actually turn into negative. Scott, a leader highlighted in the book, was always trying to help people, from his direct reports to his bosses. Yet, his contributions to discussions and decisions just made additional work for himself and others!
❓What can you do?
If you jump in too quickly or too often, you can become a target for ever-expanding requests that bog you down and prevent you from meeting your bigger goals. Develop an awareness of why people beat a path to your door. Is it because you represent the route of least resistance? If so, learn to be comfortable saying no!
Remember: It helps others become self-reliant. Shift your perspective from deriving satisfaction from helping to teaching people how to solve their problems.
⚡Trigger – Need for closure
This need can keep you on the phone or the computer late at night tying up loose ends in your email or trying to get that last little task accomplished when you no longer have the creativity or energy for it. Often these closure-driven efforts come out half-cooked, forcing others into additional work.
❓What you can do?
Remind yourself that closure should not be your sole priority. Let non-priority work or requests wait or slide off your radar altogether. Do you attend every meeting on your calendar? The reality is, they’re not equally important. You could potentially skip those where your input isn’t needed! Or could the meeting be reduced to a simple, efficient email from you?
I would love to get your over-doing triggers and any tips that can help us be more productive and happier in your collaborations!