Technology journalist and former Wall Street Journal reporter Lee Gomes and I had a thought-provoking chat earlier this week about collaboration. Lee was interviewing me for a question-and-answer style profile in the MIT Technology Review. The Review was capping off a series of stories about collaboration with the interview on The Culture of Collaboration book. I’m glad that the editor accurately summed up my perspective in the headline: "Collaborating Takes More than Technology."
You can read the article here.
Lee did a good job playing devil’s advocate. Among the issues and questions he raised: “Command and control might not be pretty, but it gets things done. Couldn’t an overemphasis on collaboration paralyze an organization?" I responded this way:
"What paralyzes an organization is when management compromises value by failing to tap ideas, expertise, and assets. What also paralyzes an organization is when requests for decisions languish in in-boxes rather than hashing out issues spontaneously. Paying a few people to think and paying everybody else to carry out orders creates far less value than breaking down barriers among silos and enabling people to engage each other spontaneously."