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October 10, 2005 » 4:34 pm

Ken Williams on Shared Understanding

Yet another lesson on collaboration from the world of sports. In yesterday’s Los Angeles Times Sports page, Ken Williams, GM of the Chicago White Sox, explained his working relationship with the team’s manager and the rest of the staff:    (JUR)

“While you want people to push in the same direction, not to the point where they’re acquiescing,” Williams said. “If you’ve got a situation where you’re waiting for Kenny to speak, that’s a dangerous situation.”    (JUS)

(The Los Angeles Times needs Purple Numbers, dammit!)    (JUT)

There’s a valuable lesson in Williams’s words that applies especially to large-scale collaboration. All too often, when folks in large communities want to rally around some concrete project, they say, “We should all agree,” when what they mean is, “You should all agree with me.” If the latter happens, more power to you. It generally won’t.    (JUU)

Effective collaboration happens when people push towards a common (and finite!) goal together. If they have to be pulled, it’s not effective.    (JUV)

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