Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Collaboration: The Six Cs Revisited

The Six Cs developed out of my experiences with a number of French-Japanese virtual teams.  There was a lot of dysfunction on the teams, and the client was making the mistake of thinking that all the dysfunctions were caused by cultural differences. Some of them were, but many were not.  Mostly they were caused by a lack of what I came to call a ‘shared collaborative architecture’ – a scaffolding of performance indicators to help start, develop, and run a team.

Once the core indicators were identified, it became relatively simple for the teams to use them for creating shared operating agreements and behaviors.  The performance indicators came to be known as the Six Cs. As well as best practices, I also identified a critical mindset needed for each C (post-book).

The Six Cs and critical mindsets are:   

The Six Cs
Developing supportive relationships across geographies, time zones and cultures
We help each other
Maintaining a clear purpose, direction, and shared set of priorities across distances
We pull in the same direction
 Sharing processes, routines, tools, standards, and structure 
We work together
Leveraging the knowledge, skills, and experiences on the team
We share what we have
Creating shared understandings across the team
We pay attention to one another
Cultural Intelligence
Developing an inclusive virtual workplace
We play well together

Too many teams – either co-located or virtual – lack a shared set of performance indicators for their teamwork.  Performance indicators are often created for desired team outputs, but not for the quality of the teamwork itself – which, of course, is critical to achieving the outputs.

It is the responsibility of the team leader to create the conditions needed for high performance in each of the Six Cs

It is the responsibility of team member to ensure that their participation contributes to high performance in each of the Six Cs.

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