During a taped television interview last week in New York, I was asked—among other things—about the difference between negotiation and collaboration. In the coming weeks, I’ll have more on the interview, the show and the upcoming air date.
I summed up the difference between negotiation and collaboration this way:
Negotiation is “I win, you lose” or “I win bigger than you win.”
Collaboration is “win, win.”
Also, negotiation usually involves suspicion and separate agendas. Collaboration requires trust and shared goals.
With the increasing interest in collaboration and the race to become—or at least appear—collaborative, there is continued confusion over the meaning of collaboration. In The Culture of Collaboration book, I define collaboration as “working together to create value while sharing virtual or physical space.”
To truly collaborate, we must move away from command-and-control, internally-competitive, star-oriented cultures to embrace cultures in which people across the enterprise gain access to the same data and information and provide input into process improvements, market creation, innovation and other key issues and decisions. In a collaborative culture, people feel their input counts regardless of their role in the organization.
And there are plenty of misconceptions about collaboration including:
Some believe that a strategic alliance is collaboration. Often a strategic alliance is nothing more than a joint news release!
Some believe that partnering is collaboration. However, partnerships do not necessarily create value. Partnering can be a prelude to collaboration, but collaboration takes partnering to a new level. In
The Culture of Collaboration book, I use the term global collaborative enterprise (GCE) to describe interdependent companies engaged in shared creation of value, often in real time. That value typically translates into products or services. And there are examples of collaborating competitors creating more value than partners!
Business, the media, analysts and others are embracing collaboration as a buzz word. Let’s make sure we go beyond window dressing, understand the real value of collaboration, and unlock that value through the interplay of collaborative culture, tools and environment.