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Do Your Questions Spark Collaboration?

Collaboration is a word that conjures up 89,500,000 hits on Google.  There’s talk of “mass collaboration,” “high performance collaboration,” and even “The Collaborative Economy.”

The Internet has given us a new foundation for collaboration and social media has erected scaffolding in record time. We are now able to collaborate in teams, organizations, and even vast global networks in ways we might never have dreamed of in the past.

Players on this open field of collaborative capability must hone their skills, and this skill-building must start at the individual level. I recently read an article by Glennon Melton about the importance of asking good questions.  Questions, she notes, can save your personal relationships. Instead of asking your spouse, “How was your day?” she advises asking more intimate, specific questions.

I gave some thought to how this practice might translate to business and our efforts to collaborate with others.  Instead of simply asking “How it is going?” what if we asked more specific questions such as…

  • How am I getting in the way of this project being a success?
  • What is the single most important resource you need to take this work to the next level?
  • How do you perceive your country/organization’s culture as different from ours?
  • If you were CEO/project leader for a day, what’s the first change you would make?
  • How does your boss make you feel?


All too often we think if we have the right IT infrastructure or the right collaboration tool or the right process then we will collaborate effectively.  The real foundation to successful collaboration rests with our ability to genuinely connect with others and asking good questions is a great place to start.

Meetings: The Ultimate Collaboration Tool

A giant shift in the way human beings come together is underway. In this unprecedented era of what author Don Tapscott calls “mass collaboration,” we all text, attend webinars, e-mail, microblog, video chat, and play games with our electronic “friends” around the world as casually as we might join a colleague face-to-face in a crowded café. Read more...

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