Common Collaboration Myths

Collaboration is what makes or breaks organizations, and we have come to value it. Collaboration is the key to solving all problems. Collaboration is a key to solving any problem or meeting milestones on time. Collaboration is a must, even when it causes productivity problems. Linux and Wikipedia are examples of projects that have been successful due to the power of collaboration. These projects make us adore the hive mind and the wisdom of crowds. But we are missing the bigger picture. All those projects were created by individuals working alone, if we look closely. There were no brainstorming sessions, or huddle-ups. They were all asynchronous and relatively anonymous interactions. This is not a typical, politically charged, face to face open office. We need our own time to accomplish things. The best musicians and athletes are not only the best because they play in an orchestra or a team, but also because they practice alone for long periods of time. The same is true for students. Those who study alone are more likely to learn than those who work with others. When we practice deliberately, we identify tasks that are out of reach, learn how to do them, monitor progress, and revise the process.Collaboration isn’t always better. For developers, designers, and writers, sometimes we need to practice alone. Kafka, for example, couldn’t write when his fiancee was nearby: “You once said that I would like you to sit beside me while my writing. In that situation, I couldn’t write at all. Writing is exposing oneself to excess. It’s a way of expressing oneself in a way that makes it difficult for a person to write. This is why one cannot be alone enough when writing, why there can never enough silence around one to write, and why even night is not enough. Open-plan offices are a waste of productivity. Open office plans are designed to squeeze more people into a smaller space while the management hopes that it will encourage collaboration. It doesn’t work that way. Open offices require employees to be able to deal with lots of interruptions and noise. A guy to your right might have allergies, and is constantly clearing his throat. A girl to your right is a smoker who constantly coughs. Bad jokes may be shared by the person in front of them. Open offices can make people more hostile, unmotivated and insecure. Research shows that open offices encourage employees to change jobs more often.
More sick days
Suffer from high blood pressure and stress levels
Discuss more with colleagues
Beware that someone may be spying on your computer screens.
Reduce the number of private and confidential conversations
Are less socially connected and more reluctant to help others
Loud and uncontrollable noises can cause an increase in heart rate.
Although collaboration is important, it doesn’t mean that people sitting next to each other will produce more. People need a quiet place to work (2-4 people per office) in order to be productive.
A place where they can casually mix and exchange ideas (during lunch).
A place where people can meet (conference room).
Our problem-solving skills can be affected by the presence of others. Peer pressure can cause us to follow the lead of others. Peer pressure can lead to us following the advice of others, no matter how smart or intelligent we may be. In one experiment, students were given a test that was so simple that 95% of them correctly answered each question. The experimenters created an actor who deliberately gave incorrect answers. This increased the percentage of students who gave all the wrong answers.

Common Collaboration Myths
Scroll to top