The dark side of collaborative cultures

The dark side of collaborative cultures is the allergy they foster to holding anyone responsible for having the ball. “Mine or yours?” is unfortunately not in the common vocabulary of many such organizations. There is a sense that that would be impolite. “We’re all in this together” is a worthy sentiment, but seldom a reality in the hard-nosed, day-to-day world of work. Too many meetings end with a vague feeling among the players that something ought to happen, and hope that it’s not their personal job to make it so.
The way I see it, what’s truly impolite is allowing people to walk away from discussions unclear. Real togetherness of a group is reflected by the responsibility that all take for defining real things to do and the specific people assigned to do them, so everyone is freed of the angst of still-undecided actions.

–David Allen, Getting Things Done, pages 262-263.
Here’s your challenge GTD enthusiasts: At the end of your next meeting, be the one to hold the group accountable for asking, “What are the next actions from this meeting and who is going to own them?”


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1 Comment

  1. This is a really interesting idea.

    I work at Avaza, and one of the most common questions I get asked is why we don’t allow multiple users to be assigned the same task.

    It’s quite simple. At the end of the day, one person has to be responsible for making sure the work is being completed. Based on project workflow, this may be multiple people over the course of time, but at any one point, you have to say – Hey Brad, you’re responsible for taking forward this work right now!

    So yes, at the end of team meetings, there should be clarity on who is responsible for carrying what forward. And at the end the responsibility should fall on one person, not the whole team. Otherwise nothing gets done.

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