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Collaborative Team Case Study

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Can you remember when you were on a team that really frustrated you because of the arguing, power struggles, attitudes and behaviors that existed and where very little time was spent on how “we” were going to achieve our shared goal?

Let’s explore what might be below the surface that would be contributing to that kind of experience! See if you recognize any of these beliefs, attitudes, behaviors or skills listed below that might have been present in your meetings?

Belief Attitude Behavior Core Skill
My point is more important I am right-arrogance Interrupt Manipulation
This is win/lose Protect my interests Bully Finding Fault
I already know what they are going to say Pretend to go along but get my way Just don’t give in Finding a weakness
They are incompetent, I don’t have to listen My time is more important Withdraw, let others do it Intimidation
I need to get what I need Look for hole in their logic Shoot down their logic Politicking
The weak don’t deserve respect Dismiss them

This is analogous to performing an MRI on an unproductive, competitive work team that produces at the level that neither represents their talents and abilities nor produces results! The energy field of this experience is not conducive to high levels of productivity, creativity and safety. As in science, if dynamics and relationships are broken down to their elemental state it becomes easier to understand and shift them into desired states.

Would you like to be part of a productive, collaborative team that utilizes all the talents and abilities of the team to create above and beyond results? Can you imagine what it would be like to work in an environment or energy field that would exist with the following components?

Belief Attitude Behavior Core Skill
Shared goal takes priority over my personal goals Feedback is good even if it hurts Turning conflict into creativity Active listening
It’s best to work peer to peer Conflict can make us stronger Facilitation that provides results without scarring Open Dialogue – inquiry & advocacy
Everyone has the right to be respected I am willing to listen and be influenced Being present and listening Lifting feedback
Differences are valuable I’ll embrace differences Passionate Dialogue that’s not win/lose Conflict Resolution
Others have a contribution to make I’ll support what is best for the team Feedback that lifts – asking for and giving Facilitating others through their issues
Best thinking comes out of group dialogue Raising conflicts early/confidently
We all need feedback to grow


Our work consists of moving teams to the highest level of collaborative productivity by guiding them in how they can create a productive, collaborative meme environment utilizing everyone’s talents and abilities to create above and beyond results.


Our work is based upon the following collaborative hypothesis:

If a member/team can:

  1. Commit to a shared goal
  2. Align their own beliefs, attitudes/emotions, behaviors and skills on the five dimensions
  3. Increase their awareness of how they and others collaborate
  4. Can work through their own personal issues, whether they are conscious or unconscious, as they relate to the shared goal

Then they will achieve the intended results with ease and grace. They will be generating 5 specific dimensions of energy that result in a highly productive field known as the collaboration meme. This maximizes the use of the intellectual capital, emotional dispositions and highly developed skills of the team towards the accomplishment of the shared goal.

We call our work in this area the Science of Collaboration because it is a definable and a repeatable process. When all the fields are aligned on each of the dimensions a third thing occurs – potential is released. Potential that was not previously available can now make that which was impossible now possible.

Case Study

We were called into work with a business analytics group for a mid size pharmaceutical company. It was a cost center not responsible for generating revenues or expense reduction. There was a new first time manager who wanted to do well and make an impression on management.


So the first step in our process was to establish an aggressive stretch goal, which does a number of things. The response to this activity is normally the following:

  1. Limiting beliefs surface and seen as sarcasm or negative comments
  2. Issues are either raised or hinted at suggesting others would “block us”
  3. Personal issues about fear of failing or not being smart come up clouding the conversation and making it difficult
  4. Strengths/opportunities were discussed after a venting session was completed

We finally came up with the shared goal of making a $50 M contribution in profits to the company even though they had no direct responsibility for revenues or cost cutting!

The next steps:

  • Formulate the business plan and clarify roles and responsibilities.
  • They agreed upon six projects that would generate profits or reduce overhead.
  • Each of the six reports took the point on a project and went to work.

I worked with the manager in affirming his capabilities and processing his issues as they came up in dealing with anxious reports. We both worked with the team in processing them through their issues and back into a productive state.

Example: The person who generated the reports for the health care costs of the 4,000 employees came up with the idea to bring in two other vendors to bid on the coverage. They wound up shifting vendors and saving $1 M per month. That’s $12 M per year. The other five projects were not as financially impactful but were highly creative and added to the total.


The net impact of this cost centers work besides their day-to-day function of business analysis was generating an unexpected $37 M in profits in a 12-month period of time.


There was a dramatic belief restructuring that took place:

From: Who do we think we are?             To: I’m very smart and can make a big impact!

From: That’s not our job!                         To: I’ll do whatever I need to do to contribute.

This was also true with attitudes and behaviors as they practiced and elevated their collaborative skills in making this happen. These individuals will never be the same after this experience. They did something that in the beginning they not only knew they couldn’t do but weren’t supposed to do.

The impossible became possible and then manifested as $37 M. Their approach to everything in the future is now different.