Welcome to Insights and Implications!
How can collaboration be a bad thing? We wondered the same thing, and we reflect on it below.
We hope you enjoy the reflective time.
All the best,
All of us at Insight Principles
Too Much Collaboration?
During a recent long drive, a TED Radio Hour caught my attention. The program was called, “Is Too Much Collaboration A Bad Thing?”
“How can collaboration be a bad thing?” I wondered.
The speaker was Jason Fried the CEO of 37 Signals, a software development company that (ironically) makes software to help companies collaborate. His message? Companies spend so much time “collaborating” that people don’t have time for the real work. Even worse, employees can’t find enough uninterrupted time to get mentally quiet or reflect. Innovation suffers and creativity is submerged under endless process and the burden of too many meetings.
To combat this, Fried told his people they can only call meetings as a last resort. He also instituted “no talk Thursdays” (akin to “casual Fridays”) during which his people cannot schedule any meetings or interrupt each other with questions.
Fried’s ideas are interesting, but they represent outward solutions for an inward problem.
Attaining mental quiet is a worthy goal. You’ve probably noticed that you do your best thinking away from work – in the shower, driving, or maybe on vacation. During these times, your mind is quieter. You get back in the office and there’s the internal noise again, and it looks like your workload is the thief of your mental quiet. But look again.
Work assignments, co-workers, bosses, the economy, or even meetings cannot make you think a certain way. Nothing external has that much power. Your experience of life is generated within your own mind via your thinking. This doesn’t mean you don’t have a large workload or that co-workers and bosses aren’t demanding. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have too many meeting on your calendar. It simply means that how and what you think about your circumstances determines your experience in that moment. Whether these things take away your quiet is between you and you.
When you become more aware of what is going on inside, you might also notice that you carry a great deal on your mind at work. It seems the responsible thing to do. Yet, embedded in the creative process of the human mind is a universal wisdom designed to give you a flow of useful insights. When your mind is more free (like in the shower, driving, etc.) this natural capacity emerges.
Companies use a variety of techniques like Fried’s to attempt to bring more mental quiet to the workplace. However, when you realize the noise is actually generated internally, you can look there instead. The potential for mental quiet is always in you.
Even in your 6th meeting of the day.
©Insight Principles, Inc.