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In this article Michael Hall of Neuro-Semantics discusses the importance of learning how to collaborate with others in order to achieve greater success.
An article by L. Michael Hall. 2018 Neurons #33, August 5, 2018.
"You can learn, but can you learn with others? If we are to develop effective groups, we need to be able to get people to first think together and then secondly, to learn together. In Neuro-Semantics we have focused on these skills in our Meta-Coach Training of Group and Team Coach Training. These are both group coaching skills and, simultaneously, leadership skills. To this point, Arie de Geus of Royal Dutch/Shell, tells this story in his book, The Living Company.
In the early 1900s, milkmen in England would deliver bottles of milk to the door of each country home. At the time the bottles had no cap, and two different species of British garden songbirds— the titmouse and the red robin— learned to siphon the sweet, rich cream from the top.
Then between the two world wars, dairy distributors began placing aluminum seals on the bottles. Cut off from the rich, abundant food source, the individual birds — both robins and titmice—occasionally figured out how to pierce the seals.
By the 1950s the entire titmouse population in the United Kingdom—almost a million birds —had learned how to pierce the seals. However, although individual robins had been as innovative in breaking the seals as individual titmice, the red robins as a group never regained access to the cream. The knowledge never passed from the individual innovators who had learned to pierce the milk bottle seals to the rest of the species.
Now that’s interesting and scientists were curious about why. Here’s what they found out:
This difference in learning behavior could not be attributed to the birds’ ability to communicate. As songbirds, both the titmice and the red robins had the same range of communication. But was different were their social organizations, in fact, they differed greatly. Red robins are territorial birds. A male robin will not allow another male to enter its territory. When threatened, the robins sends a warning as if to say, “Keep the hell out of here.” They communicate in an antagonistic manner, with fixed boundaries they do not cross.
Titmice, by contrast, are a social species. They live in couples in the spring, until they have reared their young. By early summer, when the young titmice are flying and feeding on their own, the birds move from garden to garden in flocks of eight to ten. These flocks seem to remain intact, moving together around the countryside. The conclusion of the scientists who studied this case: Birds that flock seem to learn faster. They increase their chances to survive and evolve more quickly.
“Flocking,” as cooperating and collaborating, not only increases learning, it accelerates the speed of our learning and adapting. Arie de Geus, drew these conclusions:
“Any organization with several hundred people is bound to have at least a couple of innovators. There are always people curious enough to poke their way into new discoveries, like the titmice finding their cream. However, keeping a few innovators on hand is not enough, in itself, for institutional learning .... Even if you develop a high-caliber system of innovation, you will still not have the institutional learning until you develop the ability to flock.” (Arie de Geus, The Living Company. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. 1997. Jeff S. Wyles, Joseph G. Kimbel, and Allan C. Wilson. Birds: Behavior and Anatomical Evolution, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (July, 1993).
Now while learning can be can a solitary activity, when individuals engage in that kind of learning they can only go so far in terms of group learning. For real progress, we have to learn together—to learn the process and art of collaborative learning. That’s an entirely new phenomenon and it is an experience that requires collaborative leadership.
It requires collaborative leadership because in traditional organizations there are numerous barriers that block this kind of mutual and shared learning. For example, there is the myth that “information is power,” there is the rule about giving information only “as needed.” There is the lack of feedback about the actions that people take and there is the lack of information about “what might have happened from the result of actions not taken.” All of these things prevent collaborative learning.
Such collaborative learning will require establishing feedback loops. It also requires experimenting to discover what works and what doesn’t. We also need a learning culture within groups and organizations, one where people can challenge ideas and hidden assumptions.
Collaborative learning inherently involves sharing what we’re learning, and spreading our insights and discoveries. Yet how many are paranoid of this! They fear that someone will “steal”their ideas and not give them credit. And that does happen. That’s why we have to have a trusting community and collaborative leaders who, in turn, prevent such things from happening."
___ © Author L. Michael Hall, Co-founder of Neuro Semantics.
To read more information like thsi — see the books The Collaborative Leader and Group and Team Coaching.
In terms of achieving greater success:
1. Learn as much as you can about personality types. Take a Myers Briggs type test - take the Big 5 test - take the Political Compass Test - and study NLP Meta Programs.
2. Watch my video on rapport skills and watch my video on the power of acknowledgement. Acknowledgement is a key part of rapport and yet so many people that I come across in my daily life fail to acknowledge others. And in some cases people fail to acknowledge themselves. So acknowledgement is a good place to start.
3. Watch the videos on how to focus the topic of conversation. This is about learning how to get on the same page as the other person – which once again is an aspect of acknowledgement.
4. Learn how to use the NLP Well Formedness Outcomes to set a goal. Once again this will give you a way to structure your conversations and track the progress, or lack there of.
5. In addition to all of the above learn to be self reflective and become aware of the conversations and thoughts that you hold in mind. Do your thoughts control you or do they serve you? You see the thoughts that arise in your mind help you to navigate through the world - but sometimes your thoughts may just lead you in the wrong direction and even take you down a self destructive path. This is an indication that you need to update your model of the world - to get inside your mind and find a way to explore the edge of your map - to explore new territory.
There was a film where they actually showed this. Not sure of the title - it could have been the Matrix. But anyway you see the protagonist drive towards the edge of town and drive past a detour sign right to the edge of town – and there was just flat ground as far as the eye can see. When you get to the edge of your map this is what it may feel like. Like you just don’t know what to do or who to speak to.
The solution in part is collective learning – collaborating with other people – and staying open to new possibilities and new ways of thinking. For some people collaboration comes naturally – for others it is much more challenging.
So what is it that stops you from collaborating – and if you are successful at collaborating what systems do you have in place to protect yourself? Leave your comments below and I will do my best to answer your questions. All the best to you.
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"buts" about it.
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|The power of acknowledgement|