The shape of a pyramid is somewhat mystic. The ancient Egyptian civilizations already knew this. The resemblance of most organizational charts with pyramids provides a clue here. We are talking about power structures. The top dominates over what lies at the base.
It is the same for group collaboration.
We have the basic process of collaboration at the base of the pyramid. Whenever two people grab a pen and start drawing on the napkin or on a flip chart the magic of impromptu collaboration occurs. There is usually not much structure to the process, people interrupt each other and sometimes with excitement sometimes with anger or despair. At this level of collaboration, people are trying to reach a conclusion together or a commitment to action. The success of basic collaboration depends on many other contextual factors, but it grants enthusiasm.
At the next level, we have “advanced collaboration”. Here the group processes are designed to reach an appropriate goal that is planned usually in the form of a meeting agenda.
As an example, let’s look at the shape of an underlying agenda:
As you move higher in the hierarchy, you would be able to design a plan like this:
If you have a group facilitator to support your meeting or use a software tool for meeting productivity, you will have a definite step-by-step process design to shape the meeting agenda and reach a concrete outcome.
In more planned forms of collaboration, the likelihood of achieving a net result from the muddling through conversations of impromptu collaboration is higher. The loss of enthusiasm and engagement can impact on the process’ satisfaction as we move away from spontaneity.
What is missing on top of this collaboration hierarchy? This articles already provides some clues to the answer. We need a form of collaboration that extends the spontaneity of impromptu collaboration and the benefits of a planned and organized process. Would anyone know what type of collaboration I am talking about? What is missing on top of the pyramid?
If you want to have something more from group collaboration than the same business-as-usual results, join our next “experience MeetingSphere” session.