How does collaboration help in staying in perfect position in the Diamond Formation? Why is a Diamond Formation Leader successful when practicing collaboration and balance it with the other three corners of the diamond:
- Cultural Sensitivity
- Team Building
What do we actually mean by collaboration. The term is used widely and generously and in my view too much. I actually like the definition by Ephraim Freed.
“Collaboration means two or more people working together towards shared goals.”
For our Diamond Formation Leadership model, the first layer is to keep the formation in balance and position, as we learned in Lesson #1. In that context the work that needs to happen by all members of the formation is interdependent. The leader has to provide a ‘stable platform’ – meaning he/she is keeping the leading edge of the effort predictable, pointed into the direction that leads to the shared goal and with only minor incremental changes when needed to maintain perfect positioning. The same is true for all other members in the formation, everybody work in unison to maintain position in all three dimension of space. In theory that sounds pretty easy, but as soon as you add the environment and its energy to the mix this gets much harder in reality.
When flying in diamond formation the environmental influences come from changes in wind, temperature, altitude, air density, precipitation, etc.
When we transfer the collaboration in Diamond Formation leadership into the business world, we face resistance to change that might have infested the organizational environment. We might get confusing messaging form leadership that blurs the vision needed to lead towards the shared goal. We get frustration, misalignment between personal goals and company goals, sometimes even starting on a team or departmental level. We might not get the funding needed to stay afloat.
With all these obstacles in the way maintaining perfect position and making minor incremental changes to advance the formation towards the shared goals is much harder.
For leader who intends to collaborate, finding the right way to communicate with the team internally as well as other team is a challenge. How to create an authentic, dependable voice of leadership that is predictable, style appropriate and easy to interpret is a challenge that can only be mastered by constantly training collaboration and communication skills and seeking feedback.
To find open arms form those we intend to collaborate with, they have to believe in the vision we put out. They have to believe that we are our authentic self and not a chameleon. They have to believe that we are fighting for them and defend them and help them. That is generating alignment hat’s needed to collaborate without hesitation. They need to know that the principles and attributes they expect in a great Diamond Formation Leader are demonstrated on a regular basis. In lesson #6 and #7 we will look closer into a study I conducted to find these principles and attributes of successful Diamond Formation leaders and why they are so important to the followers of leaders. The two that seem to be the highest in demand at this point in the study are integrity and listening skills.
Collaboration requires several people, often with differing levels of authority and responsibility to work together. In the same way it requires certain behaviors, attributes and principles to be demonstrated by the Diamond Formation Leader to have a chance to collaborate with followers and others in the environment, it requires the collaborators to meet certain criteria.
For success to emerge, the collaborators need to be honest, engaged, believe in the purpose of the work that is needed to achieve the shared goals. They need to be open to take instruction and willing to provide honest and open feedback. They need to be flexible when asked to face challenges but authentic in their style and behaviors. They need to be aligned with the goals and in agreement about the steps that need to be taken to move forward.
While all those criteria for the Diamond Formation Leader and the Collaborators are being met, constant vigilance about the positioning in the overall formation is needed to make sure that direction isn’t lost while conquering the minutia.
Those are the challenges in collaboration. When true collaboration is achieved terms like “in the flow”, seamless, intuitive completion of tasks, amazing coherence, etc. are commonly used to describe how successful collaboration actually appears and feels for everybody involved.
Striving to achieve this state must be the goal, both for the Diamond Formation leader as well as the other members in and around the formation.
Knowing how the prefect diamond formation looks like is the beauty of the model. At the same time, letting anything get too far out of position and left unchallenged, unspoken, and unaddressed can require such massive changes that the diamond might get lost.
The best way to avoid it is to truly meet the challenges of collaboration and address any challenged head on immediately. That way any chance is minor and incremental and the formation that leads to the ultimate vision is maintained.