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January 30, 2005 » 10:51 pm

Leadership and Collaboration Across Different Fields

Today’s Los Angeles Times sports page related a story from Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy about meeting Bill Clinton. Van Gundy said:    (I8P)

He [Clinton] said, “We should get together some time and talk about leadership.” I said, “That would be great.” He said, “Yeah, I got to go to Asia for an economic summit. Then I got to go to the Middle East.” I was thinking, “I got TNT Thursday.” This guy is talking about real things. I’m talking about the Pistons.    (I8Q)

On the one hand, it’s nice to see someone in professional sports keeping things in perspective. On the other hand, leadership in politics isn’t necessarily much different than leadership in sports.    (I8R)

I was on a conference call last week with some folks who were discussing case studies of great collaboration. The bias among the group was that examples of collaboration in business were “concrete” or “practical” and that collaboration in other fields were not. The implication is that if you’re interested in collaboration in business, you need to study collaboration in business. This is certainly true. Then there’s the corollary: Collaboration in other contexts isn’t relevant. I think this attitude is crap. Unfortunately, it’s widely held.    (I8S)

If people are serious about learning more about collaboration, they need to understand it in all contexts, not just their own. Collaboration ultimately boils down to dealing with people, which is not a domain-specific problem.    (I8T)

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