Radical Collaboration and Transformation

Opdateret: 23. apr. 2019

Radical Collaboration will help you be more effective at building collaborative relationships, it will improve your performance and help you achieve better results. But it will not by and for itself transform your organisation or working culture.

In our eyes transformation can happen in one of three ways:

1. We transform because reality forces us to, so it’s an external transformation. (a unforeseen happening or a new competition in the field pushes us (together) over an edge)

2. We transform because someone or something tells us to (a boss, an analysis or a new theory/product)

3. Transformation happens as a result of collective learning.

It’s always possible that the first one can happen (both as something unforeseeable, like an earthquake,  and sometimes it's also purely because we fail to talk with and attend to each other). Also, we don’t think that the second way is a fruitful way of transformation as it often goes against the will of the employees or group and is therefore often resisted. So the third path of transformation seems the most preferable one - but how can we go about it?

In our eyes the work of transformation as a collective learning process happens (only?) through the fundament of radically collaborative relationships and environments.

To improve our collaboration we need to become more self-aware of our choice to create a collaborative environment. One that can foster the real, raw and ambiguous process of collective learning. In Radical Collaboration we call such an environment a Green Zone environment, which is an environment where we can experience and observe high levels of trust and low levels of blame, a shared vision, honesty and risk taking. It is in such an atmosphere that the collective learning process becomes real, because this is where we dare to bring up conflicts, tensions, observations, feelings, facts, ideas and assumptions. All of those aspects hold the power (only when we do not have the skills to deal with them properly) to turn the work environment divisive, hostile, toxic, adversarial and difficult. Hence it is important that we develop and train the skills, attitudes and understandings to deal with raw information (like conflicts, tensions and ideas) and direct the energy in healthy ways so we can learn from our differences and nurture the ground for a green zone environment. This is the environment in which we collaborate despite our differences and difficulties and where we are more likely to undergo a healthy transformation processes.  

However, more often than not what we observe and experience is an environment where we don’t really know how to deal with the more subtle seeings, ideas and conflicts because it is not safe to do so. Or because we are not embedded in an environment that embraces and invites conflicting information as needed for collaboration. “Lets collaborate and lets work as effective teams, but lets NOT bring up those things that are dangerous, unclear or hurtful”. These environments that claim to collaborate by sugarcoating the space, making it impossible and unpopular to bring things up so they can be talked about and dealt with, is what we call a pink zone environment.

An environment where people fight, dominate or bully each other (in light and less light versions) we call a Red Zone environment:

The point we want to make is this: If there is no safe space and people don’t feel invited to share openly our most subtle, raw and vulnerable assumptions, observations and ideas then we can not built our efforts of transformation on effective collaboration.

So in a sense it all starts with building this fundament - the green zone (which is about building the fundament of radically collaborative relationships and environments) on which everything else unfolds more effectively in the long-run.

And in order to create an environment that we call Green Zone we need the inter- and intrapersonal skills to build effective relationships. The 3 day Radical Collaboration Training helps you to build, practise and further develop those. As you engage in this process you will slowly start to see how by developing this muscle of Green Zone collaboration you simultaneously and invariably start to create the space for people to bring up and deal with the stuff that otherwise is not dealt with effectively. These moments are the pivotal moments where we get in touch with the stuff that all transformative work is made of.

So in some sense Radical Collaboration doesn’t do transformation - but it builds and strengthens the ground on which transformation can happen. Effective collaborative relationships are what make transformation even a possibility.

In this specific training on June 12-14 we are excited to bring our understandings and learnings we’ve gathered from our other projects and fields of work with us and weave them with the Radical Collaboration Methodology and Theory.


Sidsel Andersen and Oswald König

RC Training June* 12-14, Innovationsdorf Bern, EN | Teaser Workshop April 25, 18:30 - 21:00, Bern

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